TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo 2020 Olympic games and the Paralympics, organisers launched their ambitious Robot Project on Friday with the unveiling of two of the robots designed to help supporters, employees, and athletes at the Games.
Toyota Human Support Robot (HSR) delivers a basket to a woman in a wheelchair on a demonstration of the Tokyo 2020 Robot Project for Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-hoon
The two products, the Toyota Human Support Robot (HSR) and the Power Assist Suit from Panasonic, were shown to the public for the first time in Tokyo.
The HSR, a small white robot with built-in facial features, helps wheelchair users at the Olympic games, which begins in July 2020.
The robots can carry, food and other goods, guide viewers to their place and give information about the event.
“We support people at the Olympic games in and around the stadium in wheelchair-accessible areas,” said Minoru Yamauchi, who is in charge of Toyota’s 2020 robots program.
“In terms of service, we will be offering stress-free access and view and the robot can also be bags and other luggage items for the customers.”
There will be 16 HSR robots of Tokyo 2020 venues and Toyota hope to have similar products are available for general sale by the early 2030s.
Panasonic will also present their offering, a battery-powered exoskeleton that helps when picking up heavy objects.
People are tied up in the Power Assist Suits, which enable users to repeatedly lift and carry objects without, that there is a tension in the back.
They will be used by workers at the Olympic and Paralympic venues, as well as the athletes village.
Tokyo 2020 organisers have long maintained next year’s summer showpiece will be the most innovative ever, and more robots are expected to be announced later.
“In Pyeongchang, there are examples of robots being used at the Games, but I don’t think it was to this kind of practical level,” said Tokyo 2020 Vice Director General Maasaki Komiya.
“So, let me repeat, we want to give the impression that the robots are actually usable and they can become part of our daily life.”
“In the past Games, I don’t think we really saw robots as part of the Play.”
The Olympics begin on July 24, 2020 with the Paralympics, starting a month later.
Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty