Tmsuk Forms Alliance to Launch Walking Support Robot

2014/03/25 15:58
Takuya Otani, Nikkei Digital Health
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Tmsuk R&D Inc announced March 24, 2014, that it has launched a project to commercialize a walking support robot developed by Taiwan-based Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Japan.

For the project, Tmsuk R&D, a subsidiary of Tmsuk Co Ltd, tied up with ITRI, Tottori University Hospital, Humanoid Robotics Institute (the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University), Adachi Inc, etc.

"We aim to commercialize the robot in one or two years," Tmsuk R&D President Yasuaki Hiyama said.

The walking support robot developed by ITRI is worn by a person who has difficulty in walking and helps the person move his/her hip and knee joints, etc. It is controlled with sticks called "Control Crutch." Specifically, the wearer uses buttons on the sticks to control the units attached to his/her waist and lower limbs.

The robot is not controlled by using the myoelectric potential of the user. Therefore, it can be commercialized with low costs, said Yoichi Takamoto, president of Tmsuk.

"It has a simple structure and can be easily attached and detached," Tottori University Hospital said. "It can be applied to a patient who is completely paralyzed and cannot generate myoelectric potential."

For the new project, ITRI provides its robot and helps the development. Tmsuk R&D makes improvements to the robot and designs a mechanism and control system for commercialization. Tottori University Hospital offers clinical and medical expertise. Humanoid Robotics Institute provides robotics technologies such as walking control technology. Adachi, a sales agent of the "da Vinci" surgery support robot for the Japanese market, will sell the robot when it is commercialized.

"This is a business project that includes not only research and development but also sales channels," Hiyama said.

Tmsuk established Tmsuk R&D in Yonago City, Tottori Prefecture, Japan, in February 2014 for the research and development of medical robots, etc. Tmsuk has been co-developing an automatic propulsion type endoscope with Tottori University Hospital and aims to further accelerate the joint research and development through the establishment of the new company. The latest announcement is the first of such efforts.

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