Japan pioneers use of robotics in caregiving

first_imgTOKYO – If you grow old in Japan, expect to be served food by a robot, ride a voice-recognition wheelchair or even possibly hire a nurse in a robotic suit – all examples of cutting-edge technology to care for the country’s rapidly graying population. With nearly 22 percent of Japan’s population already age 65 or older, businesses here have been rolling out everything from easy-entry cars to remote-controlled beds, fueling a care technology market worth some $1.08 billion in 2006, according to industry figures. At a home care and rehabilitation convention in Tokyo this week, buyers crowded around a demonstration of Secom Co.’s My Spoon feeding robot, which helps elderly or disabled people eat with a spoon- and fork-fitted swiveling arm. Operating a joystick with his chin, developer Shigehisa Kobayashi maneuvered the arm toward a block of silken tofu, deftly getting the fork to break off a bite-sized piece. The arm then returned to a preprogrammed position in front of the mouth, allowing Kobayashi to bite and swallow. A rubber and nylon “muscle suit” developed by the Tokyo University of Science helps keep the elderly active by providing support for the upper body, arms and shoulders. Powered by air pressure actuators, the prototype suit – which looks like an oversized life jacket – provides subtle backing to help older people lift heavy objects. The intelligent wheelchair TAO Aicle from Fujitsu Ltd. and Aisin Seiki Co. uses a positioning system to automatically travel to a preset destination, and uses sensors to detect and stop at red lights and to avoid obstacles. Another wheelchair designed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology responds to oral commands like “forward” and “back,” “right” and “left.” Then there are cars designed for easy entry for the wheelchair-bound or those with difficulty walking, like Toyota Motor Corp.’s Welcab series. Its slogan: “A car that’s more patient than your daughter.” Tired? Retire to a Lowland futon bed by Kaneshiro Tsuhso Inc. that can be adjusted into a reclining seat. And there’s help for caregivers, too. A full-body robotic suit developed by the Kanagawa Institute of Technology outside Tokyo is a massive contraption powered by 22 air pumps to help nurses hoist patients on and off their beds. Sensors attached to the user’s skin detects when muscles are trying to lift something heavy – and signals to the air pumps to kick in to provide support. Though the suit makes its wearer look a little like Robocop, a student who was easily lifted off a table in a demonstration said he felt comfortable during the test. “It doesn’t feel at all like I’m being lifted by a robot,” he said. “This feels so comfortable and very human.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas City“It’s all about empowering people to help themselves,” Kobayashi said. The Tokyo-based company has already sold 300 of the robots, which come with a price tag of $3,500. “We want to give the elderly control over their own lives,” he said. The rapidly aging population here has spurred a spate of concerns: a labor shortage, tax shortfalls, financial difficulties in paying the health bills and pensions of large numbers of elderly. Moreover, a breakdown of family ties in recent years means a growing number of older Japanese are spending their golden years away from the care traditionally provided by children and grandchildren. That’s where cutting-edge technology steps in. last_img read more


first_imgMISSING: The sister of Mary Boyle is to go to Westminister in a bid to get justice for her allegedly murdered sister.Irelands longest missing child case is back in the headlines once more. Mary Boyle (6) went missing on 18 March 1977, she was visiting her grandparents in Ballyshannon.She is presumed dead by friends and family who have long since giving up of finding her alive.Mary’s twin sister Ann Doherty and Margo O’Donnell, a sister of Daniel and neighbour and distant cousin of the Boyles, were interviewed at Pearse Street Garda Station in Dublin.A number of families have been invited to Westminister to discuss the issues. Journalist Gemma O’Doherty is working with the women to share the case.Doherty has claimed her sister was killed by somebody known to her.She also believes she was sexually abused before her death.Doherty will make a plea to Gardai to arrest the suspect. She will also state that she was informed by a senior Garda that there was political interference in the case, which she believes prevented Mary’s killer from being brought to justice.SISTER OF MISSING MARY BOYLE CLAIMS SHE WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED AND MURDERED was last modified: October 23rd, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Arsene Wenger gives his verdict on Arsenal’s title credentials this season

first_imgThe Gunners have not tasted Premier League glory since, but Wenger says there is no reason why they can’t end that 14-year drought this season.When asked if they can finish top of the pile, the Frenchman told talkSPORT: “Yes, why not?“When you look at our last season, at home we had a championship run because we won 15 games, with two draws and two defeats, it was away from home where we were not good enough. REVEALED Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes they can challenge for the Premier League title this season.The Gunners are beginning to look the part under new boss Unai Emery, who took over in the summer after Wenger’s 22-year reign came to an end.During his illustrious Arsenal career, Wenger delivered three league titles, the last of which came in their ‘Invincible’ season of 2003/04. Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move ADVICE MONEY Wenger won the league three times 2 Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions REVEALED Latest Football News 2 Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? “But overall the quality is there, we got to the League Cup final and got to the Europa League semi-final last season, where we would have won.“They have strengthened the team well, so they have a chance.“But at the moment there are some other teams who look very strong as well.” huge blow no dice RANKED BEST OF Arsenal are looking strong under Emery Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card Arsenal’s 11-match winning run came to an end with the 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday, leaving them fourth in the table and four points off leaders Manchester City.But the fixtures have been kind to them, as Stuart Pearce pointed out on talkSPORT, and they face a serious test against title contenders Liverpool at the Emirates on Saturday.Ex-Gunners midfielder Paul Merson still expects Liverpool to thrash Arsenal, despite their promising run of results.last_img read more