On June 18th 2009, KAIST’s Human-friendly Welfare Robot System Research Center donated Human-friendly Welfare Robots to the National Rehab clinic. These include robotic wheelchairs and beds, as well as other assistive technology for the old and infirm. The very friendly-looking little robot below appears to be a new model of the Steward robot “Joy”, which was developed as part of an automated bedroom that featured voice activated appliances.
The director at National Rehab made a statement in support of robots at the donation ceremony. “The Welfare Robot donation continues our research and development of rehab assistive technology, which will lead to the improvement in the level of the rehabilitation of patients, and is expected to contribute to the rehabilitation industry,” he said.
For me, big cities tend to feel oppressive for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is their environmental toll. Having said that, I am drawn to them for their spectacular scale, which promises hidden oases and secret sanctuaries from the bustle of the giant hive. This video bottles some of the magic and mystery of such a place – enjoy.
[Samuel Cockedey] via [CScout Japan]
Panasonic held a send-off party for Tomotaka Takahashi and his 20-odd crew that are going to attempt a new world record at the Lemans 24 hours race course in France, where the media was able to get some nice photos and video of the redesigned Evolta robot (and vehicle).
Evolta himself is about 17cm tall, with the vehicle about 30cm wide, 20cm high, and 20cm long and can travel at 1.3kph. Two DC motors powered by AA Evolta batteries spin the front wheels, while the passive wheel in the back causes Evolta’s legs to pedal by way of a pulley. They’re made of carbon fiber and plastic, which should be strong enough to survive the heat emanating from the race track (the circuit boards are considered relatively safe inside Evolta’s body). The race course is 4,185 m, which should provide plenty of room for Evolta’s challenge of lasting 24 hours, and should earn him another Guinness Book World Record for longest distance traveled by a remote controlled car. The race date is set for August 5th, 10am.
Apparently besides the challenges of going uphill and braking and turning while going downhill (which have been addressed in the final robot), insects come out at night which can stop Evolta in its tracks due to the small wheels. Takahashi-san even said that he had to sweep snails away during the testing phase. The biggest challenge of all is the weather, which is unpredictable compared to the batteries’ duration, he said.
Willis Russel, President of Guinness World Records Office Japan, also attended the press event. He commended Panasonic for its ambitious project, and said that if there were problems on the race course they would attempt the feat on a circular rail like the one in the photos (after the break).
[source: Impress Robot Watch]