Panasonic’s ongoing effort to automate Japanese hospitals continued this month with the launch of the HOSPI-R, an autonomous delivery robot that is now on sale. In its press release, Panasonic contends that robots like this one are needed to maintain and improve the quality of nursing services due to Japan’s rapidly aging society. The latest in the company’s line of HOSPI robots is designed to transport samples and drugs so that lab technicians and nurses won’t have to.
Panasonic has been working on this particular problem for the past few years. In early 2010, nurses and pharmacists complained that their work was being constantly interrupted whenever drugs had to be delivered. Beginning with just two robots to help out during the night shift, soon the robots were working 24/7. Finally, after more than two years of experimental use at the Matsushita Memorial Hospital, the robots are ready to go pro.
The main benefit of the HOSPI-R is its autonomous navigation capabilities. Whereas many automation systems rely on obtrusive rail systems or other delineated routes, the HOSPI-R navigates using just its onboard sensors. When compared with conventional rail systems, Panasonic’s system implementation costs reduce to between 25 and 50 percent (and maintenance costs are reduced to 20 percent).
*Also see http://youtu.be/g63WUCUuCD0
Read more here http://www.gizmag.com/panasonic-hospi-r-delivery-robot/29565/