Panasonic Corporation today announced the development of an innovative communication assistance robot named "HOSPI-Rimo" and new models of its Hair-Washing Robot and RoboticBed. These robots are designed to support people who need assistance to lead safe, comfortable, and pleasant lives.
The new Hair-Washing Robot can complete the entire process of hair washing automatically, from wetting to shampooing, rinsing, conditioning and drying. When the first model was unveiled at the same exhibition last year, it received great response, including requests for additional functions and commercialization. The new model features washing arms with more fingers and improved mechanics than the previous model to give more comfortable washing experience.
HOSPI-Rimo serves as an intermediary to enable comfortable communication between people who are bed ridden or have limited mobility to communicate with other people, for example, their attending doctor in a separate room in the hospital or friends who live far away, as if they were interacting face to face. Panasonic developed "HOSPI" automatic medication delivery robot, which is used in hospitals in Japan and other countries. HOSPI-Rimo employs HOSPI's autonomous mobility technology and high-definition visual communications technology.
RoboticBed, an electric bed transformable into an electric wheelchair and vice versa, also attracted much interest, including commercialization, when it was first introduced in 2009. Since then, Panasonic has made constant improvements by incorporating requests from both caregivers and recipients, as well as developing solutions for practical and safety issues identified through its activities under the Project for Practical Applications of Service Robots coordinated by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization), an independent Japanese administrative agency. Panasonic has been developing safety technologies and guidelines under the project.
The Robotic Canopy, introduced together with the RoboticBed, also received a number of requests, including easier installation and a more user-friendly means of communication. These requests have led the company to develop the new communication assistance robot, HOSPI-Rimo.
Combining its expertise in robotics and information technology, Panasonic aims to meet the needs of both those who give and those who receive care, by offering robots as well as robot system solutions that provide total support through collaboration between robots and humans.