Panasonic has developed a robotic bed which easily transforms to a wheelchair - and back again - without the user needing to move. The Robotic Bed eliminates the need for those with limited mobility to transfer between bed and wheelchair, reducing the need for assistance and helping them retain their independence and mobility.

The Robotic Bed features a number of intuitive human-robot interface technologies, the result of Panasonic's research and development in the area of welfare robots.

No training is needed to use the Robotic Bed, and it is easily transformed from bed to wheelchair, or vice versa, via an interactive interface.

The wheelchair's controller allows the user to easily drive it and, when ready, give it a command to convert into the bed. While in wheelchair mode the robot is able to detect people and obstacles in its way to safely guide the user to avoid collisions.

Posture support technology enables the mattress to be adjusted to fit the contours of the user's body for maximum comfort, and the robot also helps the user turn over to prevent bedsores.

The Robotic Canopy is an information interface that enables the user to watch television, operate home appliances and check the security camera connected by the home network. The Canopy display moves according to the user's position and lifts automatically when the robot is converted into the wheelchair mode.

As well as providing users with a means to a more independent life, the assistance the Robotic Bed provides is good news for carers and may remove the physical exertion and risks of moving people from bed to wheelchair and back.

Panasonic will showcase the new robot at the 36th International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition (H.C.R. 2009) to be held at Tokyo Big Sight from September 29 to October 1, 2009.

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