Researchers from Japan’s Hokkaido University have developed an autonomous walker for patients in nursing home and hospital settings.

The autonomous system can reportedly locate nursing home and hospital patients who want to take a walk or to change their location within a facility without interventions from nursing home or hospital staff. It accomplishes this via an ROS navigation stack that locates the patients.

With the goal of improving a patient’s sense of autonomy, the autonomous walker can also support the weight of the user while guiding them through a facility.

Source: Hokkaido UniversitySource: Hokkaido University

"In our next studies, we plan to develop an algorithm that can appropriately sense the user's condition and determine the appropriate amount of assistance required by each user to enhance the walking support function," the researchers explained. "In addition, we plan to develop an emergency stop function and an appropriate obstacle avoidance algorithm to ensure the system's safety."

The walker, which is detailed in the Artificial Life and Robotics journal, is shown in the accompanying video that appears courtesy of Hokkaido University.

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