July 7, 2009

Panasonic Develops New Medical Robot

Panasonic Corp announced on Tuesday that it has developed a medical robot able to dispense drugs to patients.

The robot will be sold to Japanese hospitals next March and will be marketed in the U.S. and Europe later. 

Akira Kadota, a Panasonic spokesman, said the robot will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"This robot is the first in our robotics project. It sorts out injection drugs to patients, saving time for pharmacists," said Kadota.

He said that the robot does not look humanoid but "looks like a cabinet with lots of small drawers."

Pharmacists can put drugs into the robot, which stores medical data for patients, and the robot can then sort out drugs for each patient and place them into the drawers that bear each patient's name.

Panasonic, a Japanese-based company, hopes the robot and other medical robotics will bring in an annual revenue of $315 million in the financial year to March 2016.

Japan is the leading robotics developer in the world, and the government is pushing to develop the industry as a road to growth.  Honda Motor Co. has developed the famous child-sized Asimo, which can walk and talk.

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology revealed earlier this year a walking, talking robot with a female face.  The government-backed organization has still not cleared the safety standards and cannot yet help humans with daily chores.


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