Accelerating development of a tactile robot hand using e-Rubber
Toyoda Gosei Co., Ltd. has invested1 in QBIT Robotics Corporation (Tokyo, Japan), a provider of robotics services, to accelerate development of a practical robot hand with tactile sense using e-Rubber sensors.2
QBIT Robotics is a startup that develops systems3 centered on collaborative robots that work together with humans for use in the service industry, including food service and entertainment, and provides robotics services that can help to solve social issues such as labor shortages.
Toyoda Gosei is developing a tactile hand that can sense the shape and softness of objects, a capability that conventional robots have lacked. By combining this tactile hand with the robot systems of QBIT Robotics, the two companies will achieve robots that can perform work in a more human-like way.
Toyoda Gosei and QBIT Robotics will accelerate their collaboration with the aim of spreading the use of practical robots that can support aging societies with fewer children. As the first result of that collaboration, Toyoda Gosei's tactile hand will be used in QBIT's "&robot café system."
1 The investment amount is 120 million yen, which will give Toyoda Gosei a stake of 7.6% in QBIT Robotics.
2 e-Rubber is a next-generation rubber that contracts with the application of voltage. It can be used as a light, soft artificial muscle for robots. In addition, when its shape changes from external pressure or other forces, the amount of internally stored electricity changes. With this property, it can also function as a soft tactile sensor that can sense minute changes in pressure with high accuracy.
3 Huis Ten Bosch Inc. has opened the "Henn na Cafe, Huis Ten Bosch," where robots wait on customers and serve drinks. QBIT Robotics developed and designed that robot system and continues to provide related support.
About Toyoda Gosei
Established in 1949 and headquartered in Kiyosu, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, Toyoda Gosei is a leading specialty manufacturer of rubber and plastic automotive parts. Today, the Toyoda Gosei Group provides a variety of high-quality products internationally, with a network of approximately 100 plants and offices in 17 countries and regions. Through its flexible, integrated global supply system and leading-edge technologies, Toyoda Gosei aims to grow as a global company that acts flexibly and swiftly in today's dramatically changing business environment, delivering the highest levels of satisfaction to customers worldwide through safety, comfort, well-being and the environment.