Toyota Demonstrates Patient Handling Robot

The company recently displayed four new robots that are part of its Toyota Partner Robot series. These four are for use in nursing and health care.

Four new robots from Toyota Motor Company are meant to enhance patients' mobility and ease difficult tasks in some nursing and health care operations. The company displayed the quartet in Tokyo on Nov. 1 and offered photos and descriptions of them in an online news release.

The company said it hopes the four will be ready for commercialization in 2013.

One of them, described as a Patient Transfer Assist, will gently move patients and is designed for easy use by health workers as well as patients, according to the release, which says this robot weighs about 280 pounds and is roughly the size of a small filing cabinet: 35 inches tall, 39 inches deep, and 27.5 inches wide. The other robots displayed Nov. 1 assist with walking and balance or with training a patient to return to natural walking.

These are part of the company's Partner Robot series, which TMC has developed for use in four fields: nursing and health care; short-distance personal transportation; manufacturing; and domestic duties. There is a strong need for robots in nursing and health care, the company states, adding that it "aims to support independent living for people incapacitated through sickness or injury, while also assisting in their return to health and reducing the physical burden on caregivers."

Each of the robots is equipped with sensor technology that detects the user's posture and his or her grasping and holding strength, the release states. The four were developed in collaboration with the Fujita Health University Hospital in Japan.

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