A bear-like robot will now act as your nurse and help you out at times of need. ROBEAR is a robotic teddy bear which has been developed by Japanese research institute RIKEN. The machine is now actually the third iteration of the robot caregiver. Its first model was created in 2009 and was called RIBA. In 2011, RIBA-II was developed. ROBEAR is the third model. However, none of them have released in the market. These bear faced robots could help the elderly population to get proper care even if there is shortage of people to care for them.
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What can ROBEAR do?
ROBEAR, the teddy bear robots can lift and carry a patient who cannot walk by himself/herself. They can also get help in standing and the robots provide a support to lean on, while the patients walk.
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Toshiharu Mukai, the research team leader said “The polar cub-like look is aimed at radiating an atmosphere of strength, geniality and cleanliness at the same time. We voted for this design among options presented by our designer. We hope to commercialise the robot in the not-too distant future.”
— Wearables and IoT (@wtvox) May 11, 2015
How Does it Work?
ROBEAR is lighter than RIBA II. It weighs 140 kgs compared to RIBA-II’s 230 kgs. It has a smaller base which makes it more compact and can easily move.
The low gear actuators allow the joints to move with precision and speed. Backdriveability is made possible as a result. This means the force which the actuators face is driven back to the system, making the movement softer and smoother.
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The teddy bear robot is also gentle due to the presence of three types of sensors. Smart Rubber capacitance-type torque sensors and tactile sensors causes the robot to “feel.” This means the robot can carry patients without causing them any harm.
The institute said in a statement: “As Japan is ageing with fewer children, the problem of a shortage in caregivers for the elderly is getting serious. Expectations are high that robotics will help resolve this problem.”
Mukia said “We really hope that this robot will lead to advances in nursing care, relieving the burden on care-givers today. We intend to continue with research toward more practical robots capable of providing powerful yet gentle care to elderly people.”
— Stephen Horning (@stephen_horning) May 4, 2015
Are you going to try the ROBEAR? What other innovations do you like the best? We would love to hear your thoughts.