Donate to Science & Enterprise

S&E on Mastodon

S&E on LinkedIn

S&E on Flipboard

Please share Science & Enterprise

Robot Being Developed to Aid in Care of Elderly

Robot for Interactive Body Assistance (RIKEN/TRI)


The Japanese research foundation RIKEN, in collaboration with Tokai Rubber Industries Ltd. in Nagoya Science Park, has developed a robot with the ability to lift and carry a patient from floor-level bedding to a wheelchair and back.     The robot, with high-precision tactile sensors and motor control, was designed to meet the needs of caring for Japan’s growing elderly population.

With an elderly population in need of nursing care expected to grow to 5.7 million by 2015, Japan faces an urgent need for new approaches to assist care givers. One of the most strenuous tasks for care givers is lifting a patient from a bed at floor level into a wheelchair, a task carried out an average of 40 times every day in nursing homes.

Robots are well-suited to this task, yet none have yet been deployed in care-giving facilities. To meet this need, the collaboration’s RIBA-II — for Robot for Interactive Body Assistance — was designed with the capability to crouch down and lift a patient of up to 80 Kg (176.4 lbs) off a futon at floor level; see RIKEN video.

RIBA II has “smart rubber” tactile sensors made entirely of rubber. Printed in sheets and fitted onto the robot’s arms and chest, the sensors make it possible for RIBA-II to quickly detect a person’s weight from touch alone, helping ensure patient safety.

RIKEN and Tokai Rubber plan to test RIBA II in nursing care facilities, and develop new capabilities for related fields, such as rehabilitation.

Read more: Positive Responses Recorded to Contact with Robotic Nurse

*     *     *

3 comments to Robot Being Developed to Aid in Care of Elderly