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NSK’s LIGHBOT guide robot nearing release

05 April 2016

NSK Japan has been working with the Kanagawa Rehabilitation Centre, performing trials of the LIGHBOT autonomous guide robot.

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.

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 estimates 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 96cm, 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.

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