Romy and the Robot
June 30, 2017

On September 16, 2008, the life of U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Romulo “Romy” Camargo changed. During a humanitarian mission for his third deployment in Afghanistan, Romy’s team was ambushed and he was struck by a bullet. At that moment, he unwittingly began a new life of limited mobility – he had just become paralyzed from the shoulders down.


As Romy recovered, the loving support from his wife Gaby led to the creation of their new family-run organization: Stay in Step (SIS), the first Spinal Cord Injury recovery center founded by a disabled veteran. Getting SIS off the ground wasn’t easy, but it was made easier thanks to generous support from Toyota, with its donation of $300,000 in last-mile funding and a wheelchair-accessible Sienna minivan. Now in full swing, SIS is dedicated to serving patients – both military and civilian – in the Tampa, Florida area.


But the story doesn’t end there.


With the idea of ‘Mobility for All’ being a key driving principle behind Toyota, Romy’s story has provided a perfect opportunity to demonstrate just what that means. To Toyota, mobility goes beyond selling automobiles – it means helping people navigate their world and live the life they want to live, regardless of their circumstances. Toyota is dedicated to developing ways to utilize advanced technology to improve quality of life, especially among people with limited mobility.


Nowhere is this principle more evident than in Toyota’s Technology for Human Support division. And with the help of Romy and his family, Toyota was able to carry out North America’s first in-home trial of the amazing Human Support Robot (HSR). While the HSR is still in an experimental research phase, and not destined for mass production anytime soon, its unique design and abilities immediately proved useful in assisting Romy with everyday activities like opening doors and bringing food from the kitchen, helping him to regain some independence and live more freely.

We’ve put together the video above to provide a closer look at the Camargo family and the Human Support Robot that could help them – and countless others – get through the day.

Romy’s incredible story is just the beginning. Toyota is fully committed to its evolution as a mobility company – whether that means helping people get across town or across the room.