Caretaker robots to star at exhibition

The three-day event opens at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center and will showcase the latest advances in assistance equipment from around the world, including mobility aids, bathing products, bed-related facilities and rehabilitation products. But a great deal of attention is likely to be focused on the new robots that are being unveiled by Panasonic Corp.

The new addition to the company’s line-up of robots is named the “Hospi-Rimo,” which joins the automated hair-washing robot and the “RoboticBed,” all of which are designed to improve the quality of people’s lives.

The Hospi-Rimo is designed to act as an intermediary to improve communication between patients who are bed-ridden or have limited mobility, for example, and other people, such as a doctor in another room or even in another city.

The device -- complete with smiley face on its screen — is equipped with autonomous mibility technology and high-definition visual communications facilities. Panasonic has also upgraded its Hair-Washing Robot, which can complete the entire procedure of wetting the hair, shampooing, rinsing, conditioing and drying.

The android attracted a great deal of attention when it was unveiled at last year’s exhibition, but the company also received requests for the addition of extra functions. Many of those have been incorporated into the new version, which now features washing arms with more fingers and improved mechanics to improve the experience.

Other companies that will be exhibiting at the show include Akva Waterbeds of Denmark, South Korea's Clearview Healthcare Products, Joerns Heathcare of the UK and Varilite of the US.

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