The Japanese camera giant Canon has announced that it will develop healthcare robots. The company has already developed high performance cameras and uses industrial assembly robots in its factories and hopes to make forays into the robotics market by 2015. Medical and nursing robots would be only one aspect of their business, which may take the form of intelligent cameras that use advanced image processing. They suggest that a robot could detect unusual conditions based on a person’s posture or behavior, and automatically dial emergency services. Whole body gesture recognition is already in the works for video game consoles like the XBOX 360, so it seems perfectly reasonable. The move could lead to mergers and acquisitions.
Of course, high resolution video tends to bog down image processing, but it’s good to hear that Japan’s robotics industry is expected to recover from the recession. Japan already owns 70% of the world’s industrial robotics market share, and future development of household robotics is expected to spread, with Toyota, Honda, and Panasonic all strengthening their robotics divisions.