Returning economic activity to pre-COVID-19 levels
As the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has now subsided in Japan, it is essential that economic activity should gradually return to its previous levels.
However, as a vaccine or cure has not yet been developed, for the time being we must still be careful not to spread the infection. In short, we must avoid situations where a large number of people are crowding together, eating and drinking and talking loudly in poorly ventilated locations.
In this era of the New Normal, robots are more likely to be used than ever.
A robot that disinfects subway stations
ZMP have updated their security robot PATORO https://www.zmp.co.jp/en/products/lrb/patoro by adding an automatic disinfectant spraying function as an optional feature. This is to meet the increasing need for disinfection at various locations as a COVID-19 countermeasure.
PATORO, a robot that moves autonomously at walking speed, was developed to perform security patrols in all kinds of unattended buildings and premises. The robot uses a camera and laser sensor to apprehend its surroundings, so it can avoid running into passersby and stop safely if any obstacles get in the way.
ZMP, with the cooperation of Tokyo Metro carried out a demonstration test in which PATORO autonomously disinfected a subway station premises. In the experiment, PATORO had been supplied with data on the station’s layout, and propelled itself about, spraying disinfectant on locations such as the handrails around restrooms and the counters of ticket machines.
In this experiment the robot’s movement was confined to one floor, but in future it is hoped the robot will use the elevator so that it may independently move around various floors applying disinfectant.
Visiting an aquarium in Kagawa Prefecture while in a Tokyo pharmacy
Under the umbrella of ANA Holdings, avatarin have developed the avatar robot “newme”, which is to be used in various fields. As one recent example it has been introduced into pharmacies.
In this case, it was possible to make a virtual visit to an aquarium in distant Kagawa Prefecture while in a Tokyo pharmacy. Using newme as an intermediary, customers at the pharmacy could take a virtual stroll of the aquarium.
So far the robot is being used to simply keep customers occupied while they are waiting. In the future it could be used to provide a health counselling service or to deal with health food sales for customers in their own homes.
Supporting professional baseball with robots
Japanese baseball team Fukuoka Softbank Hawks/, who have been holding games behind closed doors as a COVID-19 countermeasure, have left supporting the team to Pepper, a humanoid robot developed by SoftBank Robotics.
Specifically, Pepper is placed in the stadium’s right-field seats and when SoftBank Hawks players make a hit or score a point, the robot expresses delight with its movements.It will also perform a dance to the home team song.