Academia and industry in Sweden and Japan collaborate on robot technology2018-03-27
Japanese researchers and students have visited Karlstad University for a week. Sweden and Japan are cooperating on a multi-year research project in academia and industry with the aim to develop robots to help the elderly live independently longer and with better life quality.
- This week our partners from the two Japanese universities have been here, says Jorge Solis, associate professor of electronics at Karlstad University. At the same time, Ann-Louise Lindborg, research engineer at Camanio Care AB, our Swedish industrial partner, was here. We've had an intensive week, developing an artificial vision system to monitor food intake. We've also looked at the differences in styles of eating in Sweden and Japan.
Japan and Sweden: Demographic challenges
Japan and Sweden share a positive approach to technology and the challenge of an aging population. But there are two differences: the food presentation on the plate and not least cutlery. The objective is to develop products that will work through inter- and cross-disciplinary cooperation.
- This is my second visit to Sweden, says Cheng Zhang, assistant professor at Waseda university in Tokyo. Last time we were in Stockholm and the climate was milder; I've actually not seen frozen lakes and rivers before and I think it's beautiful here in the winter. This time we have updated how far we have come in our joint project and set goals for the continued development in our joint project, for instance, regarding the vision system.
- I'm a doctoral students and this is my third visit to Sweden, says Takumi Ohashi, from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. I will continue working on this project with Sweden so I might return several times. I really appreciate Swedish nature, Tokyo is very crowded.
- I'll get my Bachelor degree in the spring, says Tomohiro Oka, student at Tokyo Institute of Technology. Then I plan to earn a Master's degree in robot design. At present, I'm involved with developing the eating aid so that it can be equipped with chopsticks instead of a spoon and we look at how the control systems need to be adjusted to different types of food.
Multi-year partnership project
The project that started in 2017 involve developing robot technological aids for elderly people with reduced arm or hand functions. The research takes place in collaboration between industry and researchers in Sweden and Japan and offers student exchange opportunities. In the summer 2017, one of our students on the innovation and design programme spent some time at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan. From October 2017, Jorge Solis is a visiting researcher at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
The research is funded by Vinnova and JST, Japan Science and Technology Agency. From February 2018, the project is run by Karlstad University till its conclusion in March 2019. The project members are the Swedish team Karlstad University and the company Camanio Care AB, and the Japanese team, comprising Tokyo Institute of Technology, Waseda University, the company Leave a Nest Co Ltd. and the aid centre in Kakegawa municipality.