Japan is known for its love of robots. Japanese inventors have been following a trend of creating a robot for every occasion. One of the newest Japanese robots is the Robear, developed by Riken, a Japanese research group. Just like the name implies, Robear is a robot bear. This bear won’t steal your picnic basket. It’s been especially designed to take care of the elderly and give them back some of their independence. The growing elderly population has been a rising concern in Japan due to their recent population decline.
Almost ten years before the Robear, Riken created a man-shaped model called the RI-MAN. As improvements were made to each succeeding model, they robot evolved into a bear. Surprisingly, the Robear is designed to be more tender with patients than the RI-MAN was. The Robear has Smart Rubber tactile sensors that give it a softer and more responsive touch.
Japan is in the middle of a sharp and steady population decline. Their slowing birthrate has created a vacuum in workforce. More elderly Japanese are entering nursing homes, and there are not enough young Japanese in the nursing industry to take care of them.
Interestingly, Japan always sees the need for a robot to fill these jobs instead of finding new people to perform the task. It could be that Japan truly doesn’t have enough people who are willing to enter the home care industry, but it also seems like a task a loosened immigration policy would fix just as well as a robot.
Here is a video of a Japanese news broadcast featuring the Robear.