Robot for the Elderly

Guest_Jim_* - August 5, 2011 05:51AM in Science & Technology

Many of us (hopefully all of us) will grow old and possibly require assistance getting up and around. When that involves getting from the floor up to a wheelchair, even a professional caregiver can have difficulties. Fortunately RIKEN in Japan has a plan for their nation; robots. Previously they have developed the Robot for Interactive Body Assistance, or RIBA, but it was not strong enough to lift someone. Now they have RIBA-II that can pick up an 80 Kg (176 lb.) patient while a caregiver guides it. This is accomplished not only by greater strength and improved joints but also by using Smart Rubber Sensors. These are the first capacitance-type tactile sensors to be made entirely out of rubber and allow the robot to immediately determine the weight of an individual from touch alone.