Wednesday, August 3, 2011

meet the next generation, our future care givers, ROBOTS!

Since man cannot create human empathy and love in a machine, soon The morning headlines will read: "care giver robot stepped on his master and crushed him, OR care giver robot picked up the wheel chair with the master in it and threw it in the trunk.... " What is with us mortal beings?

With an elderly population in need of nursing care projected to reach a staggering 5.69 million by 2015, Japan faces an urgent need for new approaches to assist care-giving personnel. One of the most strenuous tasks for such personnel, carried out an average of 40 times every day, is that of lifting a patient from a futon at floor level into a wheelchair. Robots are well-suited to this task, yet none have yet been deployed in care-giving facilities.

According to Science Daily (Aug. 2, 2011) — A new robot using high-precision tactile sensors and flexible motor control technology has taken Japan one step closer to its goal of providing high-quality care for its growing elderly population. Developed by researchers at RIKEN and Tokai Rubber Industries (TRI), the new robot can lift a patient up to 80 kg in weight off floor-level bedding and into a wheelchair, freeing care facility personnel of one of their most difficult and energy-consuming tasks.