Robot Designed for Healthcare Facilities
Japanese researchers unveiled a robot Tuesday that can lift a patient weighing up to 176 pounds off the floor and onto a wheelchair, Reuters reports. The robot will save healthcare workers from the difficult task of lifting patients—especially the elderly—from the floor and onto a wheelchair an estimated 40 times a day.
The robot, RIBA 2, is soft to the touch, Reuters said. Wheels mobilize the device, and it can even respond to voice commands. It lifts patients by crouching on its springs, rubbers sensors and improved joints down to the level of a Japanese futon, a traditional mat placed on the floor.
“It is made of very soft material, of rubber, so it won’t hurt a person,” said Shijie Guo, leader of the Robot Implementation Research Team that developed RIBA 2. “Normally, to crouch and lift require a huge motor, which would give us a huge robot. But with this robot, we used a spring.”
The Robot Implementation Research Team included experts from RIKEN, a natural sciences research institute in Japan, and Tokai Rubber Industries. Development was funded by Tokai as well as the Japanese government, and commercialization of RIBA 2 is planned for the future.
The development of the robot comes as Japan growing increasingly worried about caring for its growing elderly population.