Yaskawa Electric Corp developed a machine that helps a caregiver carry a care receiver between a care bed and a wheelchair.
The development of the machine is part of a project that Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) formed to promote nursing-care robots. From now, Yaskawa Electric will evaluate the safety and practicality of the machine at care facilities and evaluation organizations, planning to release it in fiscal 2016.
Conventional methods using a care lift take time and have low efficiencies. On the other hand, if there is no help, a large burden is imposed on the caregiver. Also, when a care lift is used to suspend a care receiver, the person sometimes cannot sit in the right position (or posture) on the wheelchair.
To help carry a care receiver between a care bed and a wheelchair, the machine lifts up the person with (1) its arms, which can move up and down and revolve, and (2) a sling seat, on which the care receiver lies. The machine can be controlled with a small pendant controller, enabling a caregiver to carry a care receiver by himself/herself, Yaskawa Electric said.
With the sling seat, it becomes possible to lift up a care receiver regardless of his/her body shape. Also, the machine has a function of controlling the tilt of the pelvis so that even a person whose "nursing care level" is high can sit in the right posture. It allows a care receiver to sit in various postures in accordance with the action that the person wants to do after being carried.
The machine is equipped with wheels and can move in any direction between beds, living rooms, etc.