Japan researcher builds device to 'transmit force'

December 20, 2013
A physical therapist helps a patient stand up during a physical therapy session on February 10, 2011 in Novato, California.

A Japanese researcher on Friday unveiled an invention that instantly and wirelessly transmits force between two devices, in a development that could allow physical therapists to treat patients remotely.

Kouhei Ohnishi said his " transceiver" permits two-way communication of the amount of pressure being applied and the resistance it is encountering in real time.

If applied to a robot, for example, it would mean a skilled operator could use the to remotely carry out complex work in areas where it was not safe for people to be—for example because of high temperatures or radiation.

"For physical therapy, the feeling and movement of therapists must be transferred without any delay," Ohnishi told reports.

"The therapist will also be able to feel how well the patient's limbs are moving, for example, which is a key piece of information".

The technology should help reduce the burden on while increasing convenience for patients, said Ohnishi, a system design engineering professor at Keio University.

The technology could also amplify or diminish the force being applied, the professor said.

"We could apply this technology to do construction work that could not be done by humans," he said.

The system uses high-speed many times faster than the presently-available wifi used for domestic Internet connections, along with high-speed computing capacity.

To demonstrate the , Ohnishi's team built two box-like tools with levers on top.

When a user moved the lever on one of the units, the lever on the other moved at exactly the same speed and force instantaneously, as if they were physically connected.

An AFP reporter who tested the device said when using a lever on one device to make the other one push a fork into an apple, it was possible to feel the resistance of the fruit's skin as the fork penetrated it.

Ohnishi said the device could in the future be used to preserve the techniques of skilled craftsmen, such as master lens grinders, who apply differing levels of pressure as they work their materials.

Explore further: Stroke survivors walk better after human-assisted rehab

Related Stories

Stroke survivors walk better after human-assisted rehab

May 8, 2008

Walking therapy for stroke survivors is significantly more effective when conducted by a physical therapist instead of a robot, according a small study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers pushing boundaries of virtual reality

February 5, 2013

UT Dallas researchers are extending the borders of virtual reality, going beyond virtual spaces in which people can see and hear each other to an environment that adds the sense of touch.

Tiny laser gives big boost to high speed data transmission

November 6, 2013

(Phys.org) —High-speed communication just got a turbo boost, thanks to a new laser technology developed at the University of Illinois that transmits error-free data over fiber optic networks at a blazing fast 40 gigabits ...

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...


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.