Key idea: A Japanese robotics company has been getting a lot of attention for its unique heavy machinery – a humanoid industrial robot that can be remote controlled by a human
Original author and publication date: Oddity Central – August 8, 2022
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Giant humanoid robots in Japan… Where did I already see them?
From the article:
With so much focus on artificial intelligence and concepts like ‘the singularity’, we sometimes forget that robots have been around for a long time and that they can be pretty valuable tools even without advanced machine learning or even the possibility to move around on their own. Think about the industrial robots in modern automated car factories, or those mine-clearing robots that help human lives, just to name a couple of examples. Now, one Japanese company is trying to bring attention back to these humble creations with an ingenious humanoid heavy-duty robot capable of performing all kinds of useful chores while also appealing to fans of mecha manga and anime.
Jinki Ittai, a robotics startup located in Kusatsu City, Japan’s Shiga Prefecture, recently unveiled a rather unusual, but very intriguing type of heavy machinery, an example of man-machine integration. Featuring a metallic humanoid robot – with a head, torso and two arms – extending out of a cabin similar to that of an excavator, this thing looks like nothing we’ve seen before.
Designed to perform maintenance work in a variety of fields, such as railway line repairs, or road sign replacement and repairs, the robot can replace teams of human workers and thus reduce the risks of serious work-related accidents. It can lift and maneuver heavy loads like steel pipes, plates or wires, and do its job just as well as any human because, well, it’s controlled by one.
Jinki’s humanoid robot basically replicates the movements of an actual human inside the cockpit of the heavy machinery. They have on special goggles connected to the eyes of the robot, and they can precisely control the movement of its arms using a technology developed by the company. This is one of the strongest selling points for human-controlled robots, as Jinki’s founder claims that creating technology that can sense the required force for different types of interactions and controlling it electrically for a giant robot is extremely hard to do at this point in time.
“There are two reasons why we are focusing on humanoid robots: one is the appearance, which appeals to so many people,” Dr. Kanaoka, the founder and president of Jinki Ittai, said. “Secondly, humanoid robots with two hands are the easiest to handle for humans.”