Graduate students majoring in robotics engineering at the Toyonaka campus of Osaka University are doing advance research to apply robot technology to assist disabled or handicapped people.
While their recent demonstration featured a robot assisting with a wheelchair, their research also includes addressing other challenges that must be conquered before robots become practical for this type of application.
For example, the robot has to be able to climb stairs, fetch items – like bringing a drink from a table or getting it out of the refridgerator, low maintanance and easy to repair, have a pleasant appearance, and operate with an intuitive control strategy.
It’s interesting to note that their work is underwritten in part by Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.
Asahi News - Osaka University Robot Research (Japanese)