Being picked up and carried around by a giant teddy bear isn't something I've dreamed about lately, but Japanese researchers have achieved this fantasy with Riba II.
The latest generation of the ursine nursing robot is designed to help caregivers move increasing numbers of elderly patients who can't get around unaided.
Developed by the Riken research center and Tokai Rubber Industries, the new Robot for Interactive Body Assistance can now lift patients weighing up to 176 pounds, better than its previous load limit of 134 pounds.
It can also bend down and deposit or pick up patients on the floor. This is useful in Japan, where people often sleep on futon floor bedding or relax on floor tatami mats.
Riken says caregivers on average lift patients from floor bedding into wheelchairs 40 times a day, adding that the elderly nursing-care population in Japan will hit 5.69 million by 2015. … Read more