Japan has developed a fitness robot to help its rapidly aging population stay in shape.
Taizo is a small humanoid bot that can perform a number of calisthenics routines. It's covered with a plush white material and looks like Frosty the Snowman in a pressure suit.
Taizo, a play on "taiso" (gymnastics), has 26 joints, or degrees of freedom, and can do about 30 moves, mostly while sitting down. Its internal structure is fairly simple and resembles many of the robot kits sold in hobby stores in Japan.
The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), a state-run research center, and General Robotix, a spinoff company, created Taizo to help lead groups of older Japanese in rehabilitation exercises and general fitness routines.
Taizo's head, hands, and feet are made of fiberglass reinforced plastic. Its body weighs about 14 pounds and stands roughly 2 feet tall. It can recognize simple voice commands and can link to external computers via Bluetooth and wireless LAN. A single battery charge allows it to operate for about two hours. … Read more