Two technologies which are sure to lead the way to a brighter future, as well as boatloads of profits for those developing them, are 3D printing and robotics. These two industries have the potential to change the way we do nearly everything from manufacturing products to interacting with computers on a daily basis. When you combine them both, however, that’s when things may get a bit scary.
That’s just what one group is trying to do in Eastern China. Jiangxi Investment Co., Ltd. has been working quietly on a 3D printed robot which is suited for aiding the elderly within their homes. With an aging population that’s bound to grow, and at-home healthcare costs rising through the roof, this robot may be just what the doctor ordered, quite literally.
The company, which began R&D on this robot back in 2012 as a means to capitalize on China’s growing elderly population, showed off a prototype last week. The body of the robot has been 3D printed to resemble Sun Wukong, the Monkey King. For those of you who are not living in the eastern part of the world, the Monkey King is a beloved fictional character, known by many within Asia. Basically he’s the Mickey Mouse of that region, and first became popular in a classic Chinese novel called Journey to the West. Most people in China regard this character as being lovable and friendly, therefore the company decided to design the machine in his likeness.
The robot, which the company has named 好兒女 (translates to “Good Child”), is incredibly functional, able to monitor its owner’s health by measuring their blood pressure, glucose levels, body temperature and more. It also is able to track its owner, sending out location details to loved ones in case of an emergency. Besides its health capabilities the robot also acts as a companion for the elderly. It’s able to hold conversations, and provide a sense of friendship to those who may not regularly be able to get out and participate in social situations.
“What we need most is clear,” explained one elderly woman who had begun interacting with the robot just recently. “We need companionship when our children are away. Robots like this can talk to us and help us to do a lot of stuff. They are like guardians.”
Users are able to interact with the robot via voice, vision and touch, which means virtually anyone can use it, without a learning curve.
While the robot is currently in a beta stage, the company expects to commence production sometime in October of this year. The 140 cm tall, 22.5kg ‘Good Child’ will come in several versions once released, ranging in price from $800 to $3,000. This puts it in a range that’s affordable for most individuals in China as well as other nations.
Household robotics are the future, but whether or not a large portion of these robots will be 3D printed is yet to be seen; however, Jiangxi Investment seems to be on the right track with a low-cost, easy-to-use robot which through the use of 3D printing is able to resemble a character that most elderly individuals within China can relate to.
Let’s hear your thoughts on the robot in the 3D Printed ‘Good Child’ forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below to see this machine in action: