Welfare Ministry Promoting Nursing - Care Robots

Welfare ministry promoting nursing-care robots

Japan's welfare ministry has set up new sections to support the development and promotion of robots that can assist in nursing care.

The ministry this month opened six bases to support companies developing such robots, as well as 11 consultation centers for operators of nursing-care businesses across the country.

A site in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward is exhibiting about 30 types of nursing-care robots that are under development.

In a model care facility room, there is a large robot. Half of it detaches from a bed and serves as a wheelchair. This device can be operated by one staff member, while two workers are usually needed to move an elderly person from bed into a wheelchair.

Also on display is a device that enables remote conversation between an elderly person and their family members through a tablet. Another robot demonstrates how it can serve trays of food.

These devices can also decrease contacts between people, raising hopes that they can help prevent infections such as coronavirus.

Kataoka Shinichiro is the chief of Future Care Lab in Japan that operates the Shinagawa base. He says robots promoting non-contact nursing care are attracting attention amid the coronavirus outbreak. He also says his lab will work to match the needs of robot developers and care givers.