Technology.am (Sept. 21, 2009) — Panasonic Corporation has developed a bed-shaped robot which can be transformed into a wheelchair, which will allow the elderly or people with limited mobility to maintain an independent lifestyle, reducing the need for assistance and expanding their mobility.
As the robot can transform itself from a bed into a wheelchair and vice versa at the command of the user, it eliminates not only the need for the user to transfer between the bed and a wheelchair but also the risks and burden associated with the transfer.
The robot can also expand the user’s range of activities. Now, the user can join the family meal by converting the bed into a wheelchair and moving to the dining table without the need of assistance from other people.
The Robotic Bed has been developed with Panasonic’s innovative technologies including a control system that aids safe operation of the robot.
The Robotic Bed automatically separates or restores certain components as it is converted into the bed or wheelchair mode. In the wheelchair mode, the robot can detect people and obstacles in its way to safely guide the user to avoid collisions.
Human-robot interface technologies are also employed to facilitate easy operation with no need for training. An interactive interface enables the user to easily transform the bed into the wheelchair. The wheelchair has an intuitive controller that allows the user to easily drive it and give it an instruction to go back into the bed.
For the comfort of the user, the robot incorporates a posture support technology that enables adjusting and optimizing the mattress to contour to the body shape. The robot also helps the user turn over to prevent bedsores.
The Robotic Bed also features Robotic Canopy, an information interface that allows for viewing television as well as operating home appliances and checking the security camera connected by home network. The display of the Canopy moves according to the user’s position and lifts automatically when the robot is converted into the wheelchair mode.
Panasonic is coordinated by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), an independent administrative institute in Japan.