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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

New Assistive Partner Robots from Toyota

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has demonstrated at its vehicle display space and theme park Mega Web a number of new robots developed to provide support in nursing and healthcare.  The robots form part of the Toyota Partner Robot series, which is being developed to assist humans in their everyday activities. 
TMC considers Partner Robots to be useful in four fields: nursing and healthcare, short-distance personal transport, manufacturing and domestic duties.  TMC is developing technology that cooperates with humans, including devices that assist in the loading and moving of heavy components in factories, in addition to automated technology that enables autonomous tool operation. 

New Nursing and Healthcare Robots
The four new types of assisitive robots are aimed for commercialization from 2013. 
The Independent Walking Assist (IWA) is supporting independent walking for people whose ability to walk has been impaired by leg paralysis or other causes. The IWA setects the intention to walk using a thigh-position control sensor and a foot load sensor and then helps the knee swing forward as the leg is brought forward. It provides reliable support when the weight of the body is supported by the knee.

The Walking Training Assist (WTA) is supporting return to natural walking from early training stages for people with impaired walking

The Balance Training Assist (BTA) is can be used to support balance function training for people whose ability to maintain balance is impaired. A two-wheeled robot used in a standing position can be used to play three games—tennis, soccer and basketball. It provides balance training by moving the people in the game (in tandem with the movements of the training individual) according to a shift in body weight to the front, back, left and right. This assistive device is aimed to facilitate enjoyable training.

The Patient Transfer Assist (PTA) robot is aimed to reduce the heavy physical burden of moving patients required in caretaking. THe PTA is a combination of weight-supporting arms and a mobile platform. The arms are shaped to easily accommodate patients, and are equipped with compact, precise control functions to provide gentle transport similar to being carried by a person. This device is designed for easy use by both caregivers and care recipients. Check out the demovideo below.

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