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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Robotics aces unveil sci-fiwheelchair; Design lightens load of caregivers

Hello there!  I'm Jeff N Marquis at the business desk and it's the first Saturday of October.
Today, I have a really interesting article to share with you.  One that talks about a huge break through for those who are either confined to wheelchairs or those who need to depend heavily on them.
I look forward to your feedback and comments.
Please send them to us at
Have a great weekend.
Robotics aces unveil sci-fiwheelchair; Design lightens load of caregivers
Edmonton Journal , Aug. 28, 2009
Robotics and medical experts in Japan on Wednesday unveiled the prototype of
a new high-tech electric wheelchair that resembles a scooter and promises
Users ride astride the four-wheeled Rodem -- rather than sitting in it, as
in a conventional wheelchair -- steer it with a joystick and hold onto
handles while the knees and chest rest on cushions.
The design allows users to slide more easily on and off the vehicle,
lessening reliance on care-givers to lift them, the inventors said.
"I believe this is a whole new idea for a wheelchair," said Makoto
Hashizume, head of the Veda International Robot Research and Development
Centre and a
medical professor of Kyushu University.
"With this vehicle, users can move around more freely and more actively
without much help from other people."
It is the first invention unveiled by the Veda centre, which opened in May
in southwestern Munakata city and is a joint project of Japanese robot-maker
Tmsuk Co. and researchers from 10 universities and institutes.
The robotics and medical specialists, including from Germany and Italy, aim
to invent robots for use in health and nursing, an area where high-tech
Japan, with its fast-greying population, is seen as a world leader.
The inventors said they had no immediate plans to commercialize the new
vehicle, which would first have to meet government safety standards, but
said they were open to offers from private companies in Japan and overseas.
Tmsuk president Yoichi Takamoto said the Rodem may also be used by people
who are not disabled to simply ride and enjoy.
Takamoto said the Rodem was too simple to be called a robot, but added that
it may evolve into one.
"We can add more robot-like functions in future," he said. "For example, we
could add a new function so it comes to your bedside when you call."



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