In the previous parts of this blog series, I have described some possible applications of robotics in our lives by means of the utilization of electronics technologies able to enhance the quality of our life. This part six explores the possibility of using electronics and robotic technologies via remote to assist people who are ill and bed-ridden. This is shown in this YouTube video that describes the working principle of operation of the Human Support Robot(HSR) by Toyota (see Figure 1):
The HSR robot by Toyota (Source: youtube)
The HSR, built by the Toyota Company is able to retrieve some objects upon a command sent by the patient through a dedicated app installed in a tablet. The robot can put the patient in communication with the doctor of a medical center who will be able to monitor the patient conditions remotely. This system can also can allow a video call with relatives to monitor patient’s physical and psychological condition even if they live in different places which may be far from the home of the sick person.
The usage of electronics technology is evident as can be seen in the brochureof the HSR robot (see Figure 2):
The HSR robot technical brochure (Source: toyota-global.com)
Another great example of a robot helping a patient that cannot move around inside a house is the Robear robot, The strong robot with the gentle touch:
“Scientists from RIKEN and Sumitomo Riko Company Limited have developed a new experimental nursing care robot, ROBEAR, which is capable of performing tasks such as lifting a patient from a bed into a wheelchair or providing assistance to a patient who is able to stand up but requires help to do so. ROBEAR will provide impetus for research on the creation of robots that can supplement Japan’s need for new approaches to care-giving.” (See Figure 3):
The ROBEAR robot in action carrying a person (Source: riken.jp)
The HSR and Robear robots are two excellent examples of applications of electronics for the needs of people who require attention and/or cannot easily be assisted daily. This is a big step in the direction of i-health and it perfectly matches the IoT approach; moreover, the electronics inside this robot must be able to drive the actuators in a very effective and accurate mode, such as in the case of the Robear robot specifications:
“Specifically, it includes actuator units with a very low gear ratio, allowing the joints to move very quickly and precisely, and allowing backdrivability, meaning that the force encountered by the actuators as they perform their tasks can be quickly fed back into the system, allowing softer movement. It also incorporates three types of sensors, including torque sensors and Smart Rubber capacitance-type tactile sensors made entirely of rubber, which allow for gentle movements, ensuring that the robot can perform power-intensive tasks such as lifting patients without endangering them.”
Using robots for assistance of humans are an interesting opportunity for technology to support and improve the everyday home life of people all across the world. What do you think of this option?