It's been the new millennium for over a decade now and not only do we not have personal jetpacks, but there's also a distinct lack of robo-maids and robo-butlers. You might not be able buy a robotic house-slave tommorrow, but Toyota's newly announced Human Support Robot is a step in that direction.
The Human Support Robot is specifically designed for the purpose of aiding the disabled, but its "grab this, open that, put this away" functionality could easily be extended to the merely lazy. 2.7 feet tall, with a telescoping body that lets it grow to 4.3, the HSR has one 2.5 foot arm complete with grasping claw, and takes orders from its master via garden-variety tablet. It can also sport a tablet on its head, letting it double as a telepresence robot.
When it comes to traversal, the HSR is designed for indoor use and can scoot around at a top speed of 1.8 miles per hour, tackling any slight elevation shifts (hardwood to carpet, for instance) that stand in its way. Toyota has yet to release any information about the new robot's price or battery capacity, but considering its modest form-factor, and a handy Japanese law which places 90 percent of the cost of a robotic assistance unit on public healthcare, the HSR could really take off, at least in its home country.
It might still be a while before you can order your own personal robo-Jeeves to make you dinner, but a robotically assisted future seems likely. Floating treadmills and personal jetpacks can't be too far behind, right? [Toyota via Gizmag]