Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Robots to help elderly or paint nails at Tokyo expo
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Nov 07, 2013

Pneumatic muscle suits and a walking stick that behaves like a guide dog competed for attention with an industrial robot that can paint fingernails at a huge expo in Tokyo Thursday.

In a country where a quarter of the 128-million population is aged over 65, innovations that can make life easier for the elderly or their caregivers are potentially big business and the subject of a lot of research.

A "muscle suit" that gives extra power to a carer to help them lift a bed-bound patient was one of the star attractions at the International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo, which runs until Saturday.

Worn like a backpack, the device is powered by compressed air and takes some of the strain out of lifting an elderly or disabled person by giving extra muscle-power to the back and hips.

The machine, developed by Tokyo University of Science and a nursing care company, is activated by a tube in the wearer's mouth, adding lift when the operator breathes in. Exhaling switches the power off.

"It feels like you're using about half the power to lift people," said caregiver Norikatsu Kimura, who took part in a trial at elderly care firm Asahi Sun Clean.

"The assistance gives me relief as we are always worried about hurting our lower waist."

"I've seen many workers who were willing to continue this job but had to stop because of hip pain," he said.

The device's compressed air power makes it safe to use around water -- vital because of the need to lift patients in and out of the bath. It weighs 10 kilograms (22 pounds) including a two-kg air tank.

Among the 300 companies at the four-day expo was NSK, which was showcasing a walking stick-like device to help visually impaired users with physical support and guidance on directions.

The LIGHBOT, which looks a little like a cane standing on a tiny cart, can guide a visually-impaired user to a pre-programmed destination. It even watches out for dangers along the way, including trip hazards such as holes or walls, and head-height obstacles like branches.

"Thanks to the sensors, this machine avoids any obstacle and allows visually-impaired users to move safely," said Mayuko Mori from NSK.

"There is a severe shortage of guide dogs and in any case, some people cannot keep animals in their apartments."

She said no decision had yet been made about putting the device into production, but field-testing in hospitals or other institutions was expected to start soon.

Funai Electric was showcasing a walking assistance cart, which it hopes to begin selling in 2015.

The appliance is a modern twist on the traditional shopping cart, where onboard motors give assistance on uphill climbs and apply a steadying brake on the way back down. GPS equipment can help family members locate a wandering shopper.

On the lighter side of the expo, Toyo Riki demonstrated a "Robo Nailist", an industrial robot arm which uses its incredible precision to apply layers of nail varnish, which it decorates with miniscule crystal rhinestones in the very latest fashion.

"Many people imagine 'industrial robots' are doing welding work in big factories but we displayed this just to show how dexterous they are," said company head Narito Hosomi.


Related Links
All about the robots on Earth and beyond!

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Gimball: A crash-happy flying robot
Lausanne, Switzerland (SPX) Nov 09, 2013
Gimball bumps into and ricochets off of obstacles, rather than avoiding them. This 34 centimeter in diameter spherical flying robot buzzes around the most unpredictable, chaotic environments, without the need for fragile detection sensors. This resiliency to injury, inspired by insects, is what sets it apart from other flying robots. Gimball is protected by a spherical, elastic cage which enable ... read more

Moon mission yields clues to face of 'man in the moon'

Shanghai-built lunar rover set for lunar landing

Crowdfunded Lunar Spacecraft Reaches Funding Milestone

LADEE Continues To Settle Into Operational Lunar Orbit

Multiple Missions Will Get China Moving On Mars

Mythbusting India's Mars Mission

India reaches for Mars on prestige space mission

India mission to Mars blasts off successfully

NASA Selects Research Teams for New Virtual Institute

From North Pole to the stars: Russia's thrill-seeking tycoon

A look at recent tech sector IPOs

NASA's Orion Spacecraft Comes to Life

China shows off moon rover model before space launch

China providing space training

China launches experimental satellite Shijian-16

China Moon Rover A New Opportunity To Explore Our Nearest Neighbor

Russia launches Sochi Olympic torch into space

Spaceflight Joins with NanoRacks to Deploy Satellites from the ISS

Crew Completes Preparations for Soyuz Move

Mission accomplished for Europe's cargo freighter

Kazakhstan say Baikonur launch site may be open to Western countries

ESA Swarm launch postponed

Europe's fifth ATV for launch by Arianespace begins its pre-flight checkout at the Spaceport

ILS Proton Launches Sirius FM-6 Satellite

NASA Kepler Results Usher in a New Era of Astronomy

Astronomers answer key question: How common are habitable planets?

One in five Sun-like stars may have Earth-like planets

Mystery World Baffles Astronomers

NASA Technologists Embrace Laser Instrument Challenge

High Energy Prairie View A and M Interns Collaborate with NASA Goddard on Radiation Effects Research

Less Toxic Metabolites, More Chemical Product

A noble yet simple way to synthesize new metal-free electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement