3 New Robotic Inventions for Disabled in Japan
Aug 03, 2010
With the advent of technology, more and more robotic assistive devices and full fledged robots are showing up every day. Today is no exception with 3 more robots that were introduced in Japan.
#1 Robot Wheelchair
Introducing a wheelchair that does not need to be pushed by a caregiver or manually moved by the user and instead travels alongside a walking person. The “robot wheelchair” has a camera and sensors to detect the caregiver and obstacles ahead, and the wheelchair can be stopped or overridden by the user with the use of a joystick.
“Imagine if you enter a store having somebody push your wheelchair,” said one of the researchers, Yoshinori Kobayashi, assistant professor for information science and technology at the university.
“Your relationship with him or her may not look equal to a store clerk or onlookers. You would fail to be treated as an independent person.”
The team is currently working on a system that would allow more than one automated wheelchair to follow a caregiver at the same time.
#2 Face-Reading Maid Robot
In development phase is a robot that reads faces of its human masters to predict their wishes. Sensors and software allow the robot to understand when a person is looking at it and respond as programmed, such as bringing the person a drink. It is expected that the robot will be put to work in homes for the elderly and restaurants.
The robot itself is quite unusual with its female appearance, manga-cartoon style face, and a French maid uniform. The robotic female moves using a Segway people mover hidden under its full-length skirt.
#3 – Yurina the Lifting Robot
Another device designed to save the backs of caregivers, Yurina, has been created to lift bed-ridden people with its arms.
Using a touch panel on the robot’s head, Yurina can lift a patient’s legs to change their diaper or place them in a hammock to carry them safely for a bath.
“Elderly care requires a lot of heavy physical work,” noted marketing official Yoshitaka Takata. “This robot can be a lot of help.”
You can see a snippet of Yurina in the video below along with other robots such as a heavy lifting assistance device, a pet seal, and the infamous Honda Asimov. (video not in English)