In recent months NSK Japan has been working in close conjunction with the Kanagawa Rehabilitation Centre, performing trials of the company’s innovative LIGHBOT autonomous guide robot which features indoor navigation and obstacle avoidance. The product already offers a number of advanced guidance, safety and usability functions, and NSK Japan will now continue its development efforts in readiness for LIGHBOT’s European launch in the autumn of 2016.
Image1: – NSK’s LIGHBOTTM guide robot includes indoor navigation and obstacle avoidance
LIGHBOT technology has been designed as a substitute for guide and service dogs, enhancing both functionality and mobility support for visually impaired and elderly users. Additionally, LIGHBOT can eliminate the need for hospital staff or building facilitators to escort visitors who require guidance, allowing them to focus on their core responsibilities.
The robot is able move to location co-ordinates, input by users via a touch panel, and estimate its own position based on map data and distance travelled. Further innovations include the ability to provide voice guidance to the destination.
Ease of handling is also a main feature, ensuring LIGHBOT can safely guide users to destinations in buildings such as hospitals and government offices. Importantly, no teach function is required, so it will even work when the user is visiting the building for the first time.
Specifically for elderly users, the height of the robot’s grip has been designed in line with statistical data. The grip height from the floor is 96 cm, which is intended to fit the majority demographic of users based on average body height.
Other innovations developed by NSK Japan include the ability to detect markers on the ceilings of multi-floor buildings to help LIGHBOT recognise its current location. This makes it possible for the robot to use elevators as and when required. Furthermore, the battery can be charged without removal and offers long life.
NSK Japan will now continue working with Kanagawa Rehabilitation Centre to ensure LIGHBOT is enhanced and developed in line with the individual requirements of its potential users.
Established 100 years ago, NSK (Nippon Seiko Kabushiki Kaisha) is a Japanese-listed company that has evolved from a regional ball bearing supplier to a roller bearing specialist and automotive supplier with a global market presence. Today, NSK employs more than 31,000 employees in 30 countries. As per March 2015 NSK achieved a turnover of 975 billion Yen. This result has been driven by ever-increasing investment in research & development, enabling the company to continuously improve the quality of its products and services. This investment supports NSK’s objective of “No. 1 in Total Quality”. In addition to a complete rolling bearing portfolio, NSK develops and manufactures precision components and mechatronic products, as well as systems and components for the automotive industry, including wheel bearing units and electric power-steering systems.
In 1963, NSK’s first European subsidiary, Düsseldorf, Germany, was opened and in 1976, the first European production facility in Peterlee, England. Today, NSK Europe supports pan-European sales with production locations in England, Poland and Germany, logistics centres in the Netherlands, Germany and England and technology centres in Germany, England and Poland. In 1990, NSK purchased the UPI Group including the renowned European bearing manufacturer RHP, with its factory in Newark (UK). Additionally, NSK has developed a comprehensive network of authorised sales distributors. NSK Europe is divided into application-based business divisions: Industry rolling bearing technologies & linear and precision technology (EIBU) as well as bearing modules and steering systems for the automotive industry (EABU & ESBU). In this organisation, NSK Europe’s 3,500 employees achieved a turnover of over 1,000 million Euros as per March 2015.
For more information, visit www.nskeurope.com
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