Have you seen Katsuhiro Otomo‘s (director of Akira, Steam Boy) sci-fi comedy romp Roujin-Z? If the answer is no, you missed out. The story focuses on an elderly man who gets bamboozled into an experiment involving a robotic bed called the Z-001. It washes you, has a television within arms’ reach, administers medication when needed, has life support functions, and when nature calls (even those times when it doesn’t knock first) it’ll take care to suction out the waste like an astronaut’s toilet. It even has autonomous mobility capabilities!
Panasonic’s Robotic Bed may not be able to do all that, but it comes pretty darn close. The mattress part can fold up into a motorized wheelchair which disconnects from the rest of the unit, without the person having to get up first. This system eliminates the physical stress and risk involved when lifting a patient into and out of bed and wheelchair. The wheelchair even has built-in obstacle detection so that it can avoid bumping into things. The overhead canopy has a television and is connected to a home network, allowing the user to control connected home appliances. It sounds like a pretty incredible system, and Panasonic will be exhibiting it at Tokyo Big Sight at the end of September.