It’s always good to hear that some robot makers are focusing on the development of machines that actually have the potential of helping people in their everyday life. And the so-called Indoor Personal Mobility Robot, which is particularly geared towards the elderly, is certainly one good example.
The main idea behind the robot is to make life easier for people who have trouble moving indoors. It’s designed so that you can actually sit in it and, much like a Segway, “drive” around in your house by moving your upper body. Face your body forward, for example, and the robot will move accordingly, and the best thing is that even people who aren’t able to use their hands can use it (you can turn around by moving your waist).
The technology is based on a number of force sensors, which are located in the robot’s seat, seat back, footrest and headrest. The robot, in its current form, stands 130cm high and weighs 45kg.
Developed by the University of Tokyo, the Indoor Personal Mobility robot is still a prototype, but the university aims at commercializing it “in a few years”.
Watch this video (courtesy of Diginfonews in Tokyo) to see how the robot works: