I personally love it when products or gadgets are created to help the elderly. Hence I was highly impressed with the latest project by National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). The researchers at this institute have unveiled a new humanoid robot designed to lead the elderly in physical exercises. Named Taizo, this $8,000 humanoid robot is designed to motivate elderly people to engage in more physical exercise. Dressed in a velvety space suit and sporting a goofy grin, the 70-centimeter (28-in) tall robot with his funny appearance is sure to appeal to the elderly.
With 26 joints in its body, this mechanical exercise instructor can easily demonstrate around 30 different moves. Taizo performs most exercises sitting on a special chair but if required he can stand and perform various activities as well. The 7-kilogram (15-lb) robot has very basic language skills, enough to understand simple spoken commands and lead a group in exercise. On a single charge Taizo can run for about 2 hours. The Taizo will not just be an exercise instructor but with his cute looks, he is sure to become the best companion of many elderly folks.
The developers plan to start selling as well as renting the Taizo robots next year for around 800,000 yen (approx. $8,000) each.