Tokyo Olympics 2020 announces robot assistants to help wheelchair users

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 has announced the launch of its new Tokyo 2020 Robot Project, which will see innovative bots assisting wheelchair users at the games.

The Human Support Robot (HSR) and Delivery Support Robot (DSR), developed by Toyota Motor Corporation, will help spectators in wheelchairs at the Olympics events.

HSR, a small black-and white bot with facial features and an extendable gripping arm, will carry food and other goods, guiding people to their seats, and providing event information.

Hirohisa Hirukawa, leader of the Tokyo 2020 Robot Project, commented: “The Tokyo 2020 Games are a unique opportunity for us to display Japanese robot technology.

“This project will not simply be about exhibiting robots, but also about showcasing their practical real-life deployment helping people. So there will be not only sports at the Tokyo 2020 Games, but also some cool robots at work to look forward to as well.”

Smoother and safer Olympics

The Tokyo 2020 Robot Project aims to make the games smoother and safer. There will be 16 bots at the Olympics.

Toyota hopes to have similar products for sale by the early 2030s, and the Olympics project is expected to showcase the potential of robots for wider application in daily life.

The Tokyo 2020 Robot Project is supported by Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat; the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; the Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry; the Tokyo Metropolitan Government; Panasonic Corporation; Toyota Motor Corporation; and Tokyo 2020.

Other robots will perform a number of additional tasks during the games, details of which will be announced at a later date.

Robot staff at hotels

Elsewhere, Alibaba Group’s futuristic ‘FlyZoo’ hotel features robot staff delivering cocktails and fresh towels, cutting the hotel’s cost of human labour.

The 290-room hotel will act as an incubator for technology Alibaba intends to sell to the hotel industry in the future.

However, the Henn na chain of hotels in Japan, famed for its robot workers, will cull half the bots as they cause more work for human staff.

Technology continues to be integral in creating unique and memorable visitor experiences – read more about the key attraction technology trends for 2019, from VR and AR, to bots and AI.

Image: Toyota