Robot Technology Helping Humans in Daily Activities (w/ Video)

Mar 11, 2010 by John Messina report
Robot Kompai is specifically designed to help the elderly and disabled with routine daily chores.

( -- A French company called, Robosoft has developed a robot called Kompai that is specifically designed to help the elderly and disabled people. Kompai can navigate autonomously, talk and understand speech. Speech is the primary means of communication; however a touch screen with simple icons can also be used for input commands.

In the below video, an elderly man is shown interacting with the . Using the robots LCD display it only takes a few minutes of training for someone to start using Kompai. The video also demonstrates that the robot can be used for many routine chores that most of us take for granted.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The first generation of the Kompai will officially be introduced next week at the Intercompany Long Term Care Insurance Conference in New Orleans from March 14-17, 2010. Kompai is currently in research and development stage and is intended for developers who would like to implement their own robotics applications for providing services to the elderly and disabled people.

For information about the Intercompany Long Term Care Insurance Conference in New Orleans please visit:

In other news on Robot Technology is Kojiro, a that mimics the human skeletal system. Kojiro is currently under development at the University of Tokyo’s JSK Robotics Laboratory.

Kojiro is designed to mimic the way the human skeleton, muscles and tendons all work to generate motion. One of Kojiro’s main innovations is the flexible spine. Just as the human spine can bend in different directions, Kojiro’s spine is flexible also allowing it to bend in different directions and twist its torso.

Robot Technology Helping Humans in Daily Activities (w/ Videos)
Robot Kojiro resembles the human skeletal structure.

Kojiro uses lightweight, high-performance DC motors which are only .6 inches in diameter and 2.5 inches long. The high-performance brushless motors can deliver 40 watts of output power. The motors are used to pull cables attached to specific locations on the body. This simulates how human muscles and tendons work. Kojiro has approximately 100 tendon-muscle structures all working together to give the robot more flexibility than could be achieved with motorized rotary joints.

Kojiro seen here bending forward.

Kojiro seen here bending backward.

Since safety was a key concern, researchers built the robot’s body using mostly light and flexible material. Joint angle sensors are also embedded on spherical joints and six axis force sensors on the ankles. This helps keep track of Kijiro’s posture and limb positions. The video below demonstrates Kojiro in action.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Lightweight and flexible material is mainly used for safety concerns.

There is however one main drawback in using a musculoskeletal system and that is controlling the robot's body is difficult. This type of system introduces much nonlinearity that makes it hard to model precisely. The research team can refine Kojiro’s movements only after performing many little tweaks on the control parameters until the robot is capable of handling more complex movements.

The final goal is to integrate control for the head, spine, arms and legs.

Explore further: European teams demonstrate progress in emergency response robotics since Fukushima disaster

Related Stories

iPhone Software That Controls Robot Movements (w/ Video)

Nov 18, 2009

( -- At the graduate school of media design at Keio University in Tokyo, a project called "Walky" is under developed. Researchers have developed specifically designed software for the iPhone that ...

The art of controlling a robot

Jan 28, 2010

Robots are used in many different areas, for instance in factories, in space and in health care. To plan and control the motions of a robot is a challenging task, which Uwe Mettin from Umeľ University, Sweden, has analyzed ...

Space Robot Can Autonomously Reconfigure Itself

Jun 15, 2009

A robot designed to work in space should ideally be a Jack of all trades, with the ability to perform a wide variety of tasks by itself. By having one robot that can handle many jobs, astronauts can cut down ...

New robot skier takes to the slopes (w/ Video)

Oct 23, 2009

( -- A new robot skier has been invented that can be fitted with off-the-shelf skis. This is not the first skiing robot, since Japanese scientists have produced their own (see article here), but is bigger and heavie ...

Recommended for you

Robot walker for elderly people in public spaces

May 22, 2015

Elderly people with walking difficulties are often intimidated by busy public places. This led an EU research project to develop a robot walker to guide them around shopping centres, museums and other public ...

Standard knowledge for robots

May 20, 2015

What do you know? There is now a world standard for capturing and conveying the knowledge that robots possess—or, to get philosophical about it, an ontology for automatons.

A folding drone that's ready for takeoff in a snap

May 20, 2015

Thanks to the power of its rotors, this fold-up quadrotor extends its articulated arms and takes off in a fraction of a second. This prototype will be viewed by specialists on May 25 at the International ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 13, 2010
A society with robots is coming closer every day. It will help lonely people or older people, entertainment and so on...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.