RI-MAN And Roujin-Z Robots: Elder Care Fact And Fiction

RI-MAN, a five-foot tall humanoid robot, is the latest in a series of prototype robots intended to assist with one of Japan's most pressing problems; the care of its older citizens. RI-MAN can see and follow movement, it can hear and process commands - it can even smell odors that might be relevant to health care.

Update 08-Nov-2006: More details about RI-MAN are available; see RI-MAN Face Tracking, Electronic Nose Robot Update for details.


(RI-MAN elder care robot)

In the demonstration, a researcher orders RI-MAN to pick up a woman. "The woman on the bed?" asks the robot. "Yes," says the researcher. The robot comes closer and gently picks up the woman (actually a life-like doll weighing 25 pounds) by carefully supporting the back and legs. "I succeeded in holding her," the robot says at the conclusion of the exercise.

Japan is expected to have one of the largest populations of senior citizens, at the same time that its birthrate is dropping. By the year 2020, Japan expects that about twenty-five percent of its population will be over sixty-five years of age.

Roboticists are not the only people thinking about this problem; science fiction writers and manga/anime creators are as well.


(Roujin-Z robot hospital bed)

In the future world of Roujin Z, an anime film introduced in 1996, the Ministry of Health orders Takazawa Kijuro, an elderly bed-ridden man seemingly without family, to test a new robot - the Z-0001. A self-contained atomic power reactor gives this unique part bed/part machine robot all the energy it needs. The man is literally wired into the bed; it contains all manner of gadgets to tend to physical needs.

The film seems to have a lot of interesting elements; it turns out that the Z-0001 also has a military bent to it. It is also able to take other machines and augment itself.

Readers of American science fiction writer Frederik Pohl may recall his marvelous 1965 novel The Age of the Pussyfoot. In the story, Forrester, a man of the 20th century who died in a fire, is reborn into the 26th century following some near-miraculous developments in the art of cryogenics. When he comes to, he is sitting in an amazing bed that seems to meet all of his needs:

The bed in which Forrester awoke was oval, springy, and gently warm. It woke him by purring faintly at him, soothingly and cheerfully. Then as he began to stir the purring sound stopped, and the surface beneath his body gently began to knead his muscles...

"Good morning, Man Forrester," said the bed.

Interested in health care robots? Read about ERNIE The Robot Pharmacist - More Accurate Than Humans, the Trauma Pod Battlefield Medical Treatment system and the da Vinci surgical robot. Read more about the RI-MAN robot here and at the RI-MAN robot site. Also, read more about Roujin Z. I originally found this idea on Slashdot, but I can't find the reference.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/21/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Skin Electronics Can Show Electrocardiogram
'... the young men in the streets who applied polyimde OLED body film to their bared shoulders.' - Chen Qiufan, 2019.

Neurodevices For Consumers? Neuroethicists (And Philip K Dick) Say 'Caveat Emptor'
'They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one...' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

BrainEx Restores Some Activity To Severed Pig Head
'... they placed the brain in a special solution, having all the properties of Nursing the brain cells.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1929.

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Michelin Self-Sealing Tires On Ford's Explorer
'...a seal of compressed plastifoam to save the air.'

Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!

Juggalo Face Paint Disrupts Facial Recognition
'... designed to foil facial recognition systems.'

Mojipic Smart Voice Vehicle Emojis
KITT, what's your response?

Unusual Twist On Woman Dates Robot
'My hearing, vision and awareness went along with that excellent imitation of a young Adonis...'

BrainNet Triple Telepathic Gaming Threat
'In the gloomy half-darkness the three idiots sat babbling.'

AVAS Noisemakers Required For EVs By EU
'...a sound tape to supply the noise of a soi-disant "[internal combustion]" engine...'

Pun Generation Via Neural Nets
'You said you wanted him to be able to distinguish between laugh-power in different gags...'

Blood Battery Robotic Fish
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Lightyear One Solar-Powered Electric Car (Design By Heinlein)
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

'Agression Detectors' Don't Work When Spying On Students
'The professional agitators had also learned how to modulate their voices below the danger level...'

Mining Of Golden Asteroid Foretold In 1898 Science Fiction
'This must be a golden planet—this little asteroid.'

Miners! NASA Wants To License RASSOR Excavator
'The borers had been dismantled and packed away.'

Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
'It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...'

CNSILK Robotic Spider Builder
'We could certainly spin a web right through the Solar System, if we can think of a good use for one.'

Starshade Will Help Space Telescope To Search For Exoplanets
'When it found planetary systems in its field, automatically shifted upon them a higher powered telespectroscope ...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.