Panasonic hair-washing robot with 16 fingers washes hair and rinses the shampoo bubbles with the dexterity of human fingers

Panasonic today announced the development of an electric care assistance bed with an integrated wheelchair and a hair-washing robot that drew on the company’s robotics technology. Using its expertise in robotics technology, Panasonic simplified the structure of the new electric care assistance bed by reducing the number of motors and modifying the components. As a result, the user can separate and reunite the bed and the wheelchair more easily, which further reduces the risk and burden associated with the transfer for the user and the caregiver. Adoption of pneumatic support and supplemental wheels also helps the care worker. Voice guidance and LED lights tell the user when the bed is ready to release the wheelchair.

The hair-washing robot uses Panasonic’s robot hand technology. With 16 fingers, the robot washes hair and rinses the shampoo bubbles with the dexterity of human fingers. The robot’s two arms scan the head three dimensionally as they move and measure and remember the head shape to apply just the right amount of pressure to each person when shampooing and massaging. Each arm has three motors that independently control swing, press and massage motions in conjunction with power detection sensors. The robot even remembers each person’s head shape and preferred massage course. Panasonic will showcase prototypes of these robots at the 37th International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition (H.C.R.) 2010 to be held at the Tokyo Big Sight from September 29 to October 1, 2010.