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A Personal Healthcare Companion

Remember Baymax – the epitome of our childhood dreams? Well, sooner or later he won’t be a fantasy no more. That’s right, Japan is currently working on a fully functioning robot that acts as a personal nurse to residents.

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In 2019, Preferred Networks announced a partnership with Toyota using Toyota’s Human Support Robot (HSR) – one that can pick up objects off the floor, retrieve objects from shelves, and perform a myriad of other tasks. Additionally, the moving parts of the arm and body create little to no force, which guarantees user safety in its operation. Thereby, the prototype home robot is designed to aid residents who cannot easily walk, bend or pick things up.

The project aims to develop service robots that extend beyond the HSR’s current capabilities, in order to assist people in daily life. Through mechanisms such as human pose detection, the HSR can provide an array of functions including quick responses for accidents, health suggestions, and entertainment. For instance, a robot can remind owners of when to take their medicines or give daily health checkups using face scans. Hence, this robot is bound to play a prominent role in the nursing industry and impose long-term applications on the healthcare system.

The Future

This is just one of the many technologies Japan is working on – Japan is more than ready to embrace AI as a new tool for shaping the future. As such, the government hopes the deployment of artificial intelligence will resolve social issues and bolster economic growth. For example, with an aging population and tight labor market, it is difficult to ensure there are enough services for the elderly at home. In turn, artificial intelligence may be able to provide opportunities for the elderly to stay in the workforce longer and help them engage in volunteering, care, and creative activities.


Written by Amanda Y


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