Meet ‘Robear’ – a robot that is cute yet powerful enough to lift a patient from a wheel chair and carry them around. The robot resembles polar bear and has a cub like face. It weighs 140 kg and features extendable legs thus keeping it from falling over. The robot moves smooth and slow owing a great deal to the advanced actuators located in its mechanical arms.
Robear has been developed by the Riken-SRK Collaboration Center for Human-Interactive Robot Research located in Nagoya, Japan. It succeeds the firm’s Riba that was launched in 2009 and Riba-II launched in 2011. Robear is capable of lifting a person weighing 80 kg and has sensors embedded into its arms that can ascertain a person’s weight to determine the amount of force required. Robear has actuator units that feature low gear ratio thus allowing the robot to moves its joints quickly and with amazing precision.
These amazing units are also capable of providing the force experienced while performing tasks back to the system and this allows smooth and soft movement we were talking about earlier. This ability is known as ‘backdrivability’.
The robot has torque sensors along with Smart Rubber capacitance-type tactile sensors which also account for the gentle movement of the robot. According to the firm, all these sensors are responsible for ensuring that the robot carries out tasks, such as lifting patients without putting them in danger. Research leader Toshiharu Mukai said, “The polar cub-like look is aimed at radiating an atmosphere of strength, geniality and cleanliness at the same time.”
According to another spokesperson for the firm, “One of the most strenuous tasks for such personnel, carried out an average of 40 times every day, is that of lifting a patient from a bed into a wheelchair, and this is a major cause of lower back pain. Robots are well-suited to this task, yet none have yet been deployed in care-giving facilities. Expectations are high that robotics will help resolve this problem [and] we hope to commercialize the robot in the not-too distant future.”
The robot will not be replacing nurses or care-workers since a human is required for attaching the straps and having them placed under the patient. Watch the video below to see Robear at work!