Toyota Introduces "Partner Robots" for the Aged


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Toyota presents its newest range of "Partner Robots" designed to help the elderly. Better known for its status as a car-maker, the company sees opportunity in aged and healthcare sectors.

With nearly one in four Japanese now aged 65 or over, and the figure expected to reach 40 percent by 2050, the nursing and care industry is seeing a corresponding increase in demand.

Toyota has teamed up with Fujita Health University in hopes of capitalizing on the opportunities presented by Japan's ageing society.

Their new range of robots are designed to help the elderly and infirm.

Unable to fully use his right leg himself, Professor Eiichi Saito of Fujita Health University demonstrated the "Independent Walk Assist" robot - attached to his right leg - along with a hip sensor and a shoulder sensor connected to a backpack.

The attachment allowed him to walk, sit and move without worrying about locking his leg to walk.

After walking, sitting and climbing stairs, Saito told an audience that he can see a time when these types of robots will be a part of people's everyday lives.

[Professor Eiichi Saito, Fuhita Health University]:
"There is a future that is undeniable, of a rapidly aging society. In order to change this future into a rich and fulfilling one, these Partner Robots will become necessary."

Toyota also showcased a robot designed to help reduce the workload of nurses and caregivers who have to transport patients by lifting them from bed and fully supporting their weight as they are moved around.

The "Patient Transfer Assist" robot allows the caregiver to raise or lower the patient and once secured, move the patient as though he's in a wheelchair.

Besides reducing physical stress for caregivers, Toyota hopes to reduce mental anguish for patients...