‘Welfare robots’ to ease burden in greying Japan

Robotic wheelchairs, mechanical arms and humanoid waiters are among the cutting-edge inventions on show at a robotics fair in Japan, a country whose population is ageing rapidly.

To ease the burden in a nation with one of the world’s highest life expectancies, engineers have come up with technologies to make life easier for the elderly and disabled, and their caregivers.

A new robot wheelchair developed at Saitama University near Tokyo doesn’t need to be propelled manually by the user or pushed by a caregiver but can instead automatically move besides a walking person.

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