Monday, October 26, 2009

Tech News : Robot to reduce burden

In an effort to cope with the challenges of an aging population, a new robot making use of the latest in sensor, control, information processing, mechanical and materials technologies has been developed to assist personnel and patients in care facilities. The product of joint research by RIKEN and Tokai Rubber Industries (TRI), the new robot, named the Robot for Interactive Body Assistance (RIBA), is the first of its kind in the world. It is capable of safely lifting and moving a human patient of up to 61 kg from a bed to a wheelchair and back.

The task of lifting and moving a patient, carried out several times a day, is one of the most exhausting activities for care-givers. In assisting in this task, RIBA brings together cutting-edge sensor and information-processing technology developed at RIKEN with materials technology developed at TRI to overcome the safety and performance limitations of its predecessor—an earlier model named RI-MAN. Using human-like arms equipped with high-precision tactile sensors and a body encased in soft urethane foam, RIBA’s design guarantees patient safety and comfort.

As one part of a larger strategy to pursue advances in robot technology for care-giving support, the successful development of RIBA marks a critical step toward tackling the problems of an aging society. The RIKEN-TRI Collaborative Center for Human-Interactive Robot Research (RTC), where RIBA was developed, envisions bringing robots like RIBA to market in the near future.


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