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Toyota sends mobility robots to 2020 Olympics

Dedicated to “Mobility For All,” Toyota robots are intended to augment and amplify human capabilities

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As a worldwide partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Toyota aims to provide mobility solutions that go beyond providing official vehicles for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. One way Toyota is doing this is by participating in the “Tokyo 2020 Robot Project”, a project led by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) that brings the government, Tokyo Metropolitan government, as well as Games’ partners together with experts in the field of robotics.

At Tokyo 2020, the robots to be introduced by Toyota will be used to support the mobility of people at various locations and venues. By helping people feel and experience their hopes and dreams, Toyota believes it will be able to further contribute to the excitement and success of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Nobuhiko Koga, Chief Officer of Toyota’s Frontier Research Center, said: “At Toyota, we use industrial robot technology for a variety of applications based on our dedication to ‘Supporting human life activities and living in harmony with people’. For example, since 2004, we have developed partner robots focused on support for people unable to move on their own, including the ageing population.

Now, as we transform into a mobility company, we are expanding our robotics efforts to provide all people with the freedom to move. ‘Mobility for all’ is not only the ‘physical’ movement of a person or thing from one location to another, but also includes ‘virtual’ mobility of a person. This provides further opportunities to experience new things, meet and interact with others, or to be ‘moved’ emotionally. At Tokyo 2020, we want to capture the imagination of spectators by providing support robots as we do our part to make the Games a success.”

Tokyo 2020 Mascot Robot Miraitowa / Someity (Mascot Robot)

Offered from Tokyo 2020

  • To make this the most innovative and technologically advanced Games in history, the Tokyo 2020 and Toyota are working to develop a “mascot robot”.
  • In addition to welcoming athletes and guests to official venues, Toyota is currently considering plans for a new way for the Games to be enjoyed by children in Japan, via the mascot robot.
  • The mascot robot will both allow expressions of arm movements via a remote-location robot, and share force-feedback from interactions.
  • Via a camera mounted on the robot’s head, it can recognize people nearby, and once recognized, use its eyes to respond with/show a variety of expressions.
  • By equipping the robot with miniature joint units across its entire body, the robot offers flexibility when being controlled, and the users can operate the robot safely and with high operational functionality.

T-HR3 (Humanoid Robot)

  • Toyota will provide a unique way for other guests in remote/distant locations that are unable to be physically present to interact with athletes via the T-HR3 and Mascot robots.
  • Specifically, the T-HR3 robots will be able to reproduce movement from a mascot robot in a remote location in nearly real-time. In addition to providing images and sounds from the remote locations, these robot users will also be able to experience the power of movement and force-feedback, allowing them to converse with and high-five athletes and others, feeling as if they were truly physically present.

T-TR1 (Remote location communication Robot)

  • T-TR1 is a virtual mobility/telepresence robot developed by Toyota Research Institute in the United States. It is equipped with a camera atop a large, near life-size display
  • By projecting an image of a user from a remote location, the robot will help that person feel more physically present at the robot’s location.
  • With T-TR1, Toyota will give people that are physically unable to attend the events such as the Games a chance to virtually attend, with an on-screen presence capable of conversation between the two locations.

HSR: Human Support Robot / DSR: Delivery Support Robot

  • For a portion of the accessible seating seats at the Olympic Stadium, the Toyota Human Support Robot HSR will guide guests to their seat and convey light meals, goods, and etc. for them, helping them to more freely enjoy the competition.
  • Also, the Toyota Deliver Support Robot DSR, specially developed for Tokyo 2020, will directly deliver drinks and other goods to spectators that they have ordered from a dedicated tablet.
  • At track and field events, with approx. 500 seats during the Olympic Games and another 500 for the Paralympic Games, the robots are anticipated to serve over 1,000 spectators requiring mobility assistance (Each section is expected to have 16 rows with 32 seats).

FSR: Field Support Robot (Field Event Support Robot)

  • Special-use robots equipped with autonomous functions as part of throwing event (i.e. javelin) operations at the Olympic Stadium.
  • While determining the optimal route to travel, the FSR will follow operating staff on a path that avoids obstacles while retrieving and conveying throwing event items.
  • By using the FSR, the aim is to reduce the amount of time needed to retrieve items as well as reduce the amount of staff labour for the events.
  • Toyota and Tokyo 2020 will be working with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in developing the FSR for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

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The PC is back!

… and 2020 will be its big year, writes CHRIS BUCHANAN, client solutions director at Dell Technologies

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Concept Ori

It turns out the PC’s death has been exaggerated. PC sales grew between 1.1% and 1.5% in the last few quarters of the year, according to Gartner. While those don’t sound like massive leaps, they represent a large market that has been declining for several years. Windows 10 is credited for this surge, especially as Windows 7 is leading towards its end of life (EOL).

But I don’t think that is the entire picture. Windows 10 upgrades have been taking place for several years, and the market has also gotten savvier about managing EOL. Other factors are driving the adoption of PCs.

A specific one is how much closer the PC now sits to smartphones. I recently watched some youngsters work with laptops that had touchscreens. They hardly ever touched the keyboard, instead tapping and swiping on the screen. Yet they were still working on a laptop, not a smartphone. Certain things are much easier to do on a PC than a phone, and users are realising this. They aren’t relinquishing the convenience of their smartphones but applications are now available on PC’s and often easier to use.

Convertible or 2-in-1 machines have closed the gap between the two device types. This is in contrast to tablets. If you observe how people sit with tablets, it’s the opposite of smartphones or laptops. With the latter, we sit forward, attentive and focused. But tablets often prompt people to recline. It’s just a casual observation, yet I believe that PCs and smartphones have much more overlap with each other than pure tablet devices. Additionally, the convertible laptop has become the new tablet.

Chris Buchanan

Why does this bode well for PCs in 2020? 2-in-1 machines break down the barriers between the utility of a PC and collaborative culture of a smartphone. You can now flip a laptop into tent mode and use it as an interactive presentation screen on a boardroom table, or cradle it like a clipboard you jot on with a digital pen.

In the next year, we’ll see more of the market responding to this trend. Premium 2-in-1 devices have a stable and growing audience of users who are now going into their second, third and even fourth generations of devices. Mid-range and entry-level laptops are also starting to adopt touchscreens and flip displays.

2-in-1 devices are also pushing innovation, such as the emergence of dual-screen systems. Dell revealed two such concept devices at CES this year: Project Duet, a dual screen laptop, and Project Ori (for origami), a more compact approach to foldable devices. We also unveiled Project UFO, a prototype Alienware device that puts triple-A PC gaming into a handheld device. All of these reflect the desire for touch-enabled devices that are portable without sacrificing performance or excellence. They definitely point us to the future.

Convertible devices are not a new form factor. I can recall the first flip-over touchscreen designs appearing 15 years ago. Back then they were exotic and the standard laptop ruled the roost. But today, the habits and expectations of users are driving a change decisively towards convertible devices.

Desktop PCs are meanwhile becoming more specialised, yet also more widely appreciated for their versatility. Specialist non-Windows PCs, such as those used by designers, are being replaced by Windows PCs, often for lower costs. Integrated discrete graphics chips and other advancements add a lot of value to modern desktops. The smartphone overlap also appears here: many people use services such as Whatsapp Web on their PCs, and Dell customers use the Dell Mobile Connect app to show their smartphone screen on their PC display.

There is a new synergy between the PC and smartphone, created by users who find the two complement each other. Not everyone has realised this yet, but in 2020 that will be the resounding message. The PC is back and 2020 will be its year.

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Jaguar designs ‘seat of the future’

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Jaguar Land Rover is developing the seat of the future – a pioneering shape-shifting system designed to improve customer wellbeing by tackling the health risks of sitting down for too long.

The ‘morphable’ seat, being trialled by Jaguar Land Rover’s Body Interiors Research division, uses a series of actuators in the seat foam to create constant micro-adjustments that make your brain think you’re walking, and could be individually tailored to each driver and passenger.

More than a quarter of people worldwide – 1.4 billion – are living increasingly sedentary lifestyles, which can shorten muscles in the legs, hips and gluteals causing back pain. The weakened muscles also mean you are more likely to injure yourself from falls or strains. 

By simulating the rhythm of walking, a movement known as pelvic oscillation, the technology can help mitigate against the health risks of sitting down for too long on extended journeys with some drivers doing hundreds of kilometres per week. 

Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Medical Officer, said: “The wellbeing of our customers and employees is at the heart of all our technological research projects. We are using our engineering expertise to develop the seat of the future using innovative technologies not seen before in the automotive industry to help tackle an issue that affects people across the globe.”

Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles already feature the latest in ergonomic seat design, with multi-directional adjustments, massage functions and climate control fitted across the range. Dr Iley has also issued advice on how to adjust your seat to ensure the perfect driving position, from removing bulky items in your pocket, to shoulder positioning and from ensuring your spine and pelvis are straight to supporting your thighs to reduce pressure points. View the video here.

The research is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to continually improving customer wellbeing through technological innovation. Previous projects have included research to reduce the effects of motion sickness and the implementation of ultraviolet light technology to stop the spread of colds and flu. 

Together, these efforts are driving towards Destination Zero; Jaguar Land Rover’s ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner – a responsible future for our workers, customers and communities around us. Through relentless innovation, Jaguar Land Rover is adapting product and services to meet the rapidly-changing world.

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