Japanese Robot Capable of Useful Work
Written by Lucy Black   
Saturday, 06 October 2018

Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, has posted a video clip of its HRP-5P robot which is intended to be capable of the "same hard work as humans".

We've seen humanoid robots doing household tasks before, see Korean Household Robot Prepares Salad, but even when the video is speeded up they have seemed clumsy and slow to the point where you want to shout "Let me do that for you".

By contrast this video of a metal man tackling the DIY task of installing dry wall is pretty convincing. It looks as though HRP-5P could be trusted to do work without supervision and complete it in a fuss-free manner.


As one of the largest public research institutes in Japan, AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) see its mission as:

"create technologies useful for industries and society in Japan and puts them into practical use". 

The robot in the video is the fifth is the HRP (Humanoid Robot Project) series, the first of which was developed by Honda and established the bipedal walking technology that AIST has developed in collaboration with several other companies. HRP-2 added the ability to rise having fallen over. HRP-3 added the ability to walk on a slippery road surface and bolt fastening by remote control

HRP-4C was a rather different humanoid - based on the Japanese female form it able to sing and dance it was aimed at entertainment.

Now the HRP-5P returns to the original trajectory. It weighs in at 101 kg, stands 182 cms tall and has more degrees of freedom to allow handling of large objects such as gypsum board.

According to the AIST press release, it is intended for:

building construction sites and large-sized structures such as aircraft and ships.

Three points are itemized: 

  • R & D platform aiming for practical application of humanoid robot at large structure assembly site

  • Improve robot intelligence such as environment measurement and object recognition technology, and autonomously operate with robot alone

  • High power, multi-degree of freedom, realization of a body that can handle tatami-sized heavy objects with wide range of joint motion

The press release also explains that the rationale for developing this robot is that due to the declining birthrate and the aging of the population. Anticipating "serious manual shortages in the future" and also wanting to relieve humans of "dangerous heavy work" AIST considers it is urgent to solve this problem by robot technology. 

The evidence from the video suggests AIST could be on course to achieve this.



More Information

AIST Press Release on HRP-5P


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Last Updated ( Saturday, 06 October 2018 )