Japan is big on robots and robot research with some of the bots being aimed directly at hobbyists and home use and others being serious R&D platforms. A new bot out of Japan is called the HRP-5P and this is a serious R&D robot that aims to do the same sort of work as humans. The goal of the robot is to replace humans in labor work and in dangerous work environments.
The new robot stands 182cm tall and weighs in at 101kg. It has intelligent features like environmental measurement, object recognition, whole-body motion planning, control technology, and task description capability. The researchers behind the robot think that it will be viable for construction sites and for assembling structures like aircraft and ships.
The bot has two degrees of freedom in the neck, three degrees of freedom at the waist, eight degrees of freedom with each arm, six degrees of freedom with each leg, and 2 degrees of freedom in each hand. The range of motion and strength of the robot allow it to handle large objects like standard plywood sheets and drywall gypsum board.
Researchers have made this robot twice as fast compared to previous versions thanks to a joint drive system with multiple motors. 3D measurement of the environment is accomplished with head-mounted sensors. When the field of view is obstructed by objects like stacks of material or vehicles, the robot can use memory to navigate an area.
In testing the robot has been able to construct a gypsum board wall. It was able to map the surroundings, lean on the workbench to pick up a sheet of drywall, lower the gypsum to the wall, recognize and pick up tools needed, and then screw the gypsum to the wall. This robot isn’t something that human construction workers will appreciate, it may one day put them out of work.