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 ")

iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.

Watch What People Are Seeing Via Brain Scanning
'had managed to see through the other man's eyes as the other man, all unaware, washed their Zis limousine sixteen hundred meters away...' - Cordwainer Smith, 1958.

PRIMA Bionic Vision Restoration
'The VISOR... was a medical device used in the Federation to aid patients who have suffered loss of eyesight...'

Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'

 

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

A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something...'

Neuromorphic Computer Offers Non-von Neumann Architecture
Fires faster than brain at 1/10K energy.

Evorus Your Crowd-Powered Conversational Assistant
'...the DS [Daily Schedule] was suddenly transformed into a valued confidante.'

Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.

Alibaba's AI May Read Better Than You
'Mike ... could accept other languages and was doing technical translating - and reading endlessly.'

Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'

Humanity Star LEO Advertisement?
'Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements...'

Nissan ProPILOT Slippers Are Self-Parking, Autonomous
Beyond science and fiction.

Atomristors - Atomic Memristors - Using Thin Nanomaterials
'I could almost feel those little tunnel junction neuristors working, forming their own interconnections as I operated it.'

Bigelow Prepares Inflatable Lunar Hotel
'Suddenly, hitherto unheard-of sums of money became available for investment in civilian orbital stations.'

Drunk Driver Of Tesla Claims Autopilot Was In Charge
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive.'

Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.

Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'

Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'

NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'

GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'

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.