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RIBA Robot Nurse Bear

RIBA Robot Nurse Bear

Japanese researchers have created a robot nurse that can lift elderly patients from wheelchairs and beds. Naturally, it looks like a giant teddy bear…

Japanese researchers have developed a robot nurse called RIBA, that can lift patients out of their beds wheelchairs, or off the toilet.

The robot, which weighs 400 lbs (180kg) and looks like a giant teddy bear, is able to safely pick up and carry people weighing as much as 135 lbs (61 kg).

nurse robot riba RIBA Robot Nurse Bear

RIBA, short for “Robot for Interactive Body Assistance”, was developed by researchers at Japan’s Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) and Tokai Rubber Industries, Ltd. (TRI).

RIBA can move patients weighing up to 134 pounds in its foam-padded paws and transfer them from beds to wheelchairs. Its cute face is designed to make the 400-pound robot less imposing.

RIBA’s long, multi-jointed arms are embedded with an array of tactile sensors to help optimize the lifting and carrying of humans. For safety and comfort, the robots entire body is covered in and advanced lightweight urethane foam developed by TRI.

In addition, the arm joints yield slightly under pressure much like human arms do further increasing the level of comfort and safety.

The robotic bear can also recognize faces and voices, as well as respond to spoken commands. Using visual and audio data from its surroundings, RIBA can identify co-workers, determine the position of those nearby, and respond flexibly to changes in the immediate environment.

RIBA is an upgraded version of RIKEN’s RI-MAN, a robot nurse assistant developed in 2006 that was only able to lift dolls weighing 18.5 kilograms (40 lbs). In addition to better strength and perception, RIBA’s improved information processing technology allows it to crunch data at least 15 times faster than RI-MAN. This allows RIBA to move faster and with more confidence than its predecessor.

According to Riken there are no plans for immediate commercialization of RIBA, however the company says it will be deployed to hospitals over the next five years.

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