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Japanese Robo-Suit Helps the Elderly to Farm

Posted By Ariel Schwartz On April 9, 2010 @ 12:45 pm In green gadgets,Innovation | 1 Comment

robosuit, japan, agriculture, farming, augmented reality, green design [1]

Farming [2] is backbreaking work even when you’re young–all that bending down repeatedly under the beating sun can take its toll. Researchers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology think they have a fix for aging farmers: a robo-suit that makes workers’ arms and legs stronger. The metal and plastic device features eight electric [3] motors as well as a voice-recognition system and sensors that track movement.

So far, the researchers have developed two models. One 66 pound model is intended for heavy lifting, while a smaller model is designed for easier jobs–i.e. picking grapes. According to researchers working on the project, the robo-suits can cut down on users’ physical exertion by 62%.

Such technology doesn’t come cheap. When the robo-suit goes on sale in Japan [4] in 2012, researchers expect that it will cost $11,000. It will still probably sell well, however, since two-thirds of Japan’s agricultural workers are over 65. Next up: adding augmented reality technology to the suits. Augmented reality [5] goggles could, for example, tell workers when grapes are ripe. They could also keep track of  users’ vital signs.

Sadly, the robo-suits probably won’t be manufactured outside of Japan. That’s because younger migrant workers are responsible for the majority of farming duties in Europe and the U.S.

+ Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

Via Physorg [6]

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/japanese-robo-suit-helps-the-elderly-to-farm/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/04/09/japanese-robo-suit-helps-the-elderly-to-farm/themetalandp/

[2] Farming: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/01/the-oasis-tower-a-helical-vertical-farm-for-dubai/

[3] electric: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/29/blindspot-cycles-salvaged-motorcycles-reborn-all-electric/

[4] Japan: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/01/13/recycled-robot-fish-teach-japanese-children-about-sealife/

[5] Augmented reality: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/03/17/solar-powered-augmented-contact-lenses-cover-your-eye-with-100s-of-leds/

[6] Physorg: http://www.physorg.com/news190003386.html

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