Monday, October 02, 2006

Home Helper Robot

The US National Institute of Standards and technology (NIST) are doing their part to solve the problems caused by the aging population and shortage of healthcare workers.
Healthcare Mobility Project

They are developing a robot to help disabled people move around their home. The robot acts a wheelchair but also gives a helping hand to get out of bed and get on and off other seats, like maybe the toilet. It can also help to give support during rehabilitation.

The prototype robot is called HLPR for Home Lift, Postiion and Rehabilitation. They started with a standard small forklift and added a seat, arm supports and joystic control.
See the video here.

It is small enough to fit through most doorways. Future work will give it the ability to dock with toilets or connect to an elevator.

They have barely begun to work on the brains yet. They would like the robot to learn navigation and voice recognition so that it comes when called and knows on its own how to take you to the bathroom.

It is interesting to see the difference between this US version of the 'helper to the elderly' robot compared to how the robot is developing in Japan.

NIST Tech Beat - Sept. 28, 2006


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