Advanced Robotics Research Center
The first objective of the center is to develop some world-class fundamental technologies that will serve as key tools in the field of robotics and mechatronics, a main support of developments in emerging fields. At the same time, we aim to create, in collaboration with researchers and engineers in related fields, high-impact technology that will contribute significantly to developments in those emerging fields.
The fundamental technologies which are our current focus include sensor technology such as wearable force sensors and motion sensors, energy regeneration type actuators, omni wheels, new maglev technology, and intention estimation technology based on distant type fuzzy inference. In terms of applications of these fundamental technologies, our work spans growth fields such as medical care, health and sports. In the future we will also pursue energy, aerospace, automobile and social infrastructure applications.
Outcomes as fundamental technologies
- Sensor technology including wearable force sensors and motion sensors
We have succeeded in developing a wearable ground reaction force sensor, a world first. Part of that technology has been commercialized and is already in use by medical researchers. In addition, we have confirmed the practicability of our noninvasive intervertebral load estimation system.
- Energy regeneration type actuators
We have taken up the challenge of developing this fundamental technology using an innovative approach. This is exploratory research in response to the current demand for fundamental technologies to support new applications including upper limb rehabilitation devices, short lower limb devices, electric artificial arms and surgical robots. In addition, by applying the law of similarity of hydraulic and electric systems, we have conceived of an innovative energy saving hydraulic system.
- Omni wheel technology
Our fundamental technology for omni wheel has completed, and some components of it, already commercialized, are in use in numerous research institutions. Omni wheel is now a key technology for omnidirectional motion and walking aid devices which are the result of our application to medical field.
- Intellectual control technology such as distance type fuzzy inference
We have framed fundamental theory for this topic, and that theory is now a component of current intention inference technology applied in walking aid devices. Also, concerning the new maglev technology which is being developed through basic research, we have proposed some fundamental technologies and we are currently working to connect that technology across new and expanding fields.
Applications of our research outcomes in emerging fields
- Omni wheel technology and distance type fuzzy inference
In collaboration with the Medical School of Kochi University, we conducted research on walking rehabilitation, specifically the development of a rehabilitation aid robot with new omnidirectional movement capability. This application is now commercialized, and sales have grown gradually. Academic evaluations have been strongly positive.
- Wearable sensor technology
This technology, now commercialized in a motion analysis system, has attracted research attention in various fields. The number of users, primarily in the field of medical care, is increasing.We have also developed image processing technology and automatic harvesting technology for application in vegetable harvesting robots; their practicability has been verified.
- Maglev technology
We have applied maglev technology in vibration control technology for surface treatment devices in the iron and steel field, and we have confirmed by fundamental experimentation that this system can substantially control vibration.
Although we are developing each of these fundamental technologies in collaboration with researchers from various emergent fields, some of these technologies are still at the investigative stage.
Research tasks and perspective
- Development and promotion of new wearable sensor technology
As our wearable device is a success, the range of applied fields has extended and we now see a lot of tasks to tackle. Therefore, we will not just refine the technology developed so far, but will also develop systems with new globally innovative functions. We will also expand our target fields from medical care to health and sports, and will develop a new sensor system anticipating future needs in those fields.
- Promotion of the integration of technologies
We will work to create better control technology to add value to walking training devices by integrating wearable sensor technology, omni wheel technology and intellectual control technology. In that work, we will consider collaboration with neuroscience and information science.
- Elucidation of various walking and posture phenomena
Some members of our lab have been conducting research on walking and posture from a variety of perspectives. In this aging society, walking is positioned as very important research phenomenon; surprisingly, there are still a number of unresolved issues, so we will focus on the conception and creation of new technology to support diagnostic capacities.
- Development of applications of energy regeneration type actuators and maglev technology
There are already a number of distinctive foundation technologies in place for application in energy regeneration type actuators and maglev technology. We are now searching for points of synergy where work with emergent fields can lead to high impact developments.
Yoshio InoueDesignated Professor Research Institute
- Koichi OkaProfessor School of Systems Engineering
- Shuoyu WangProfessor School of Systems Engineering
- Kyoko ShibataAssociate Professor School of Systems Engineering
- Yina WangResearch Associate School of Systems Engineering
- Kunihiko TachibanaResearch Associate School of Systems Engineering