Researchers in Japan are developing robots that have the ability to perform household tasks and provide emotional comfort for the elderly.

Image: Sugano Laboratory, Waseda University

With birth rates declining and populations aging in many developed countries, demand for eldercare is growing. One creative solution is to design affordable robots that can support the elderly in their daily tasks. These robots would need to be able to handle a variety of items such as household appliances, plates and utensils.

Researchers at Waseda University’s Sugano Laboratory have developed TWENDY-ONE, a robot equipped with flexible joints, springs in its arms and fingers with adjustable pressure. These features give the humanoid robot the dexterity necessary to manipulate soft or complex-shaped objects in the same way as people. TWENDY-ONE can do housework or provide simple nursing care, such as helping someone move from a bed into a wheelchair, opening a refrigerator and taking out food, or baking bread.

Designed with safety in mind, the robot features contact-detection software and advanced sensing capability, allowing it to avoid accidental collisions with humans. The research team hopes to commercialize TWENDY-ONE within a few years, after reducing the robot’s cost, increasing its reliability and simplifying its maintenance.



For further information contact:

Department of Modern Mechanical Engineering
School of Creative Science and Engineering
Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

Sugano Laboratory

Takanishi Laboratory