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Panasonic Wearable Assist Robots

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Panasonic’s exoskeletal Assist Suit boosts workers’ lower backs, helping them lift heavy warehouse boxes. (Photo credit: Panasonic)

Tech giant Panasonic is working to bring helpful bionics to just about every facet of life, from industrial applications to elder care. The company recently released a video featuring its wearable assist robots. Panasonic researchers have applied their advanced control and sensor technologies to create exoskeletal robots equipped with motors that mimic human motion, thereby assisting human body mechanics. These robots are designed to be safe to use and offer peace of mind.

Some of the developing models include the Assist Suit and Ninja, which respectively boost the lower back and legs, helping workers lift heavy warehouse boxes or climb steep mountains. The Power Loader is designed for construction work and disasters. Speaking at Panasonic’s website, Hiromichi Fujimoto, President of Activelink, one of Panasonic’s in-house venture companies: “Our mission is to help realize a Power Barrier-less Society by offering a helping hand during manual labor and at other worksites. We are proposing robotics to help at these worksites, because there will always be a certain level of work that must be done by people, and these power assist suits can help reduce the physical strain during such work.”

In addition to industrial applications, Panasonic is focused on mobility and independence for the elderly and physically impaired. The company has been in the nursing business for over 18 years in Japan, running elderly care facilities and developing devices that contribute to elderly care.

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Self-reliance Support Robot alleviates stress experienced during transfer, movement, and sitting. (Photo credit: Panasonic)

The Self-Reliance Support Robot helps users move from bed to other tasks, such as going to the restroom. It senses the slightest of movement and can predict what the wearer is doing based on the information gathered by the sensors. Resyone, meanwhile, transforms from a bed into a reclining wheelchair.

These robots still tend to be expensive, so you probably won’t see them in common use at warehouses or nursing facilities in the near future, but considering the range of devices and applications, they could be widespread before too long.

To see the array of robots in action, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGmymin7d0o.

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