Panasonic recently released a video showcasing its image for the future: a place where wearable robotic assistants will help human workers with strenuous tasks.
The OEM showcased its proprietary exoskeletons and service robots in a YouTube video, and the bionic age seems to be closer than anticipated. Many life areas could benefit from Panasonic's products, from manipulating large packages to helping the elderly and from lumberjacking to construction work.
For example, the Assist Suit (displayed in the picture) strengthens your lower back and legs, assisting you when lifting heavy boxes. The Ninja is a similar device that makes climbing steep slopes much easier. The aptly named Power Loader is prone to help in case of disasters or construction work, where really heavy objects should be swiftly moved around. Sci-Fi fans might recognize the Power Loader's design from the Aliens movie.
Panasonic, which has over 18 years of experience in the nursing business, also focused its attention on medical procedures and restoring lost mobility.
For example, the simple act of moving a patient from his bed onto a wheelchair can be literally backbreaking. That is why Panasonic came up with Resyone, a novel approach to hospital furniture. Resyone shifts from bed-form into a reclining wheelchair with the press of a button.
In the video, Panasonic underlines that the resident's dignity is maintained by not moving him from the bed/wheelchair. The company points out that Resyone is the first device that is ISO13482 certified. This means that the device meets the safety standards for service robots.
Panasonic ends the video presentation with a description of the Self-Reliance Support Robot. The device assists the elderly when leaving their beds and heading to the restroom or to the cafeteria. One neat trick that it uses is that it measures the resident's muscle strength, so that it supports the weakened patient, but it still forces them to initiate the motion. This makes sure that patients avoid developing muscle atrophy.
Albeit Panasonic's products for heavy lifting and medical care are still expensive and come in limited numbers, we can see a future when other companies will pick up the pace in bionics, thus making the products more affordable and widespread.
Panasonic also looks into creating robots that will help with agriculture: late last year, the company said that it was working on a robot that will be able to pick tomatoes.
For now, check out the video below to learn more about the new Panasonic Assist Robot.