Process and control today | NSK Service Robot Technology Supports Frontline Healthcare



NSK is working to help society by developing new service robot technology, including robotic devices for moving patients in medical settings. In October 2021, the company joined a Japanese government initiative to implement robotic technology in hospitals and help prevent the spread of Covid-19. NSK is now working to further develop its robotic technologies by engaging with frontline medical staff.

New robots are currently being developed around the world to assist humans and help solve societal problems. As part of this effort, NSK wants to create robots for use in environments where many people move around, including medical facilities and hospitals. The company’s smooth movements and low-noise technologies are ideal for robotic applications in this field.

Among the development candidates at the initial planning stage was an autonomous mobile robot. However, after observing the inner workings of a hospital, with its narrow corridors and high attendance rates, NSK concluded that a motorized assistive robot that could assist staff when transferring patients would be a more useful contribution. to workplace efficiency.

The company knew that its proposed robot could reduce the physical burden on medical staff and help facilitate work style reform in the healthcare industry. Based on this approach, the company has built a robotic prototype that helps staff move heavy objects such as stretchers and trolleys in hospitals. As part of the Japanese government’s initiative, NSK is currently demonstrating the use of its motorized assistive robot in a major hospital. The end goal is eventual adoption by the healthcare industry for everyday use.

NSK focuses on the core user issues when developing the assistive bot, deploying idea verification in short cycles. For example, rather than spending three years developing the entire robot, NSK solicits customer feedback every three months, implementing improvements incrementally through the development process.

The robot developed by NSK uses a motor drive that facilitates smooth start-up and acceleration, as well as deceleration and sharp turns. NSK ultimately wants to create a usable robot that meets user needs, leveraging its know-how to help people working in frontline healthcare. Innovative projects of this type support the company’s philosophy of better meeting the needs of society, while simultaneously creating growth opportunities for new businesses.

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