Companion and Nursing Home Robots and for Elderly | Kyoto, Japan
Twendy One robot project at Waseda University: This robot is being programmed to help an elderly person out of bed and into a wheelchair, to pick up a straw and put it into a drink, and eventually to help around the kitchen and with shopping. The hardware is actually very sophisticated and uses top of the line sensors everywhere, including the very newest tactile sensors embedded in the palm and fingers of both hands (but the software to make all those sensors work in practical ways is lagging). The point of these photographs is that though this is not yet reality, it is okay in this culture to develop robots to help the elderly . . . a practical, analytical solution to a burgeoning elderly class in Japan.
All of these robotics folks talk about studies showing that more and more elderly are isolated and have no one to relate to. In 2009, nineteen percent of Japan’s elderly died with no one around them. They have a word for it: “Kodokushi,” meaning “lonely death.”
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