Friday, November 23, 2007

(robotically) Assisted Living

____________ From emagazine - Credit Suisse:
"Robots Lend a Hand in Japan"

"It is no wonder Japan has been called "the robot kingdom." Of the world’s at least 923,000 industrial robots, about 4 in 10 are in Japan. Now Japanese interest is turning to so-called service robots, which could play a crucial role in looking after the nation’s aging population.
Japan has a deep-seated infatuation with mechanical friends, whether it is with the heroes of manga (comic books) and anime (animation), hard-working industrial robots, or the public relations humanoids of major Japanese corporations. Currently, all eyes are on the service-robot sector. This broad category includes underwater, medical, cleaning, security, fishing, forestry, caregiving, entertainment and pet robots. At present, such robots only make up a small percent of the overall robot market, but expectations for the sector are high. An example is the 2007 International Robot Exhibition due to open this November in Tokyo. Service robots are expected to account for more than a third of exhibits. Basically, the category includes any robot for use outside the factory, but the Paris-based International Federation of Robotics identifies two main types: professional-use robots and private-use robots. Of the former, they estimate that 31,600 were in operation at the end of 2005, the most numerous being underwater robots at 18 percent, cleaning robots at 17 percent, and defense and security robots following at 16 percent."

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