Assistive Tech & Products

Disability and gadgets: join the #Robot revolution

Robert Wemyss is the IT guru at Really Useful Stuff. RUS is delighted to join in with Disability Horizons to offer a monthly roundup of all things tech and gadget. We will take a quick look at new ideas on the horizon as well as great new inventions already on the market that make life easier and a lot more fun.


The movie i-Robot was set in 2035 and was centred on the role of highly intelligent robots filling public service positions throughout the world, operating under the rule to keep humans safe.

Back here in the 21st Century, the idea that robotics can help humans is a rapidly growing industry that is attracting massive investment.

If we take a look at the ideas being showcased at R&D events we can start to see the everyday applications that robotics can have. When you apply the ideas to help disabled and older people, the opportunities become very exciting.

Panasonic's hair-washing robot

It may look like a glorified hair salon chair, but a new Japanese hair-washing robot replicates the dexterous touch of a human hand to care for your silky locks! But just imagine if this was a standard featured in a wet room. For people where the simple task of washing your own hair has become an almost impossible task – why not have a hair washing gadget?

Its creators at electronics firm Panasonic say the machine features the latest robotic technology and could help replace human care-givers in this rapidly aging nation.

Robots for Good

The Inmoov explorer project will allow hospitalised children to visit the zoo using virtual reality and a human size 3D printed robot they can control from their room.

The Inmoov project is open source, which means you can join the project, download all the blueprints and customize the robot without interference of any company or organisation. This allows anyone to start building this robot and change the lives of children everywhere.

Now this is a cool application of robotics:

Courtesy of Huis Ten Bosch

A hotel in Nagasaki, Japan, has seen the future, and it involves C-3PO offering to carry your bags and bring your room service. At least, that’s the goal for the Henn-na Hotel, set to open this July. The 72-room hotel will be staffed by 10 humanoid robots capable of greeting guests, carrying luggage, cleaning rooms.

And we are seeing robots becoming affordable everyday items that can help around the home.

Robot Vacuum Cleaners

There are now innovative easy to use robot vacuum cleaner with an easy touch screen control panel that come with a UV lamp to kill bacteria when cleaning. They have a mop feature for kitchen floors. They even recharge themselves, the perfect gadget for disabled and older people. You can also program it to clean while you’re away from home – a great timesaver!

One of the biggest quests of the modern world – the search to make machines as intelligent as humans – could be getting tantalisingly close. Personally I am happy to get the vacuuming done at the touch of a button!

If you come across something exciting, let us know on #DHgurus or @RUStuff #Inventedithour

Follow Really Useful Stuff @RUStuff

By Robert Wemyss

Check out…

Disability and gadgets: using technology for accessibility
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