RIKEN, a natural sciences research institute in Japan, and Tokai Rubber Industries designed a robot which can pick a person off the floor to his/her wheelchair, or vice versa. This is useful in Japan, where people often sleep on futon floor bedding or relax on floor tatami mats. “Riba II” named robot is able to lift off a person weighing as much as 176 pounds (approx. 80 kg for us, the SI system users).
Aging population is a serious problem especially for developed nations, and developers of the robot are hoping to help caregivers with the problems of nursing of elderly. According to RIKEN, caregivers on average lift patients from floor bedding into wheelchairs 40 times a day, adding that the elderly nursing-care population in Japan will hit 5.69 million by 2015.
RIKEN is set to test Riba II at nursing homes in Japan, and eventually bring the bear to market with price tag around $70.000, says CNET. Most important thing here is, this could be the first robot ever find its way into our houses! Japanese might just have been invented the very ancestor of T-800; the Homo erectus of Skynet :)
Check out the video after the break to see how Riba II operates.