TOKYO – Japanese scientists have created “Robear,” a robot nurse that can help people with reduced mobility, carrying out tasks like lifting them up or moving them from a bed to a wheelchair, a spokesperson for the team of scientists told Efe on Wednesday.
The robot has the appearance of sweet-faced polar bear with large eyes, is one and a half meters tall (five feet) and weighs 140 kilograms (around 310 pounds).
Robear is fitted with three types of sensors to calculate the force and placement necessary to carry out tasks like lifting a person without risk of causing any damage.
When necessary, the robot can lift itself up higher to prevent a patient from falling on the ground or even lower itself to function in confined spaces.
The robot was built by Japan’s Riken Research Institute, in collaboration with Sumitomo Riko technology firm, with the aim of easing the workload of caregivers and health personnel, and improves the quality of life of the elderly.
Increasing longevity is a global trend which presents new challenges to technology developers, and is significant especially in the case of Japan.
Japan has one of the largest populations of old people in the world, with almost 33 million people over the age of 65, which accounts for more than one-fourth of its population.
“We intend to continue with research toward more practical robots capable of providing powerful yet gentle care to elderly people,” the research team’s leader, Mukai Toshiharu, said in a statement.