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Japan Engineers Design Robotic Bear to aid in Assisted Suicide

06.05.2015  |  23:33
Japan Engineers Design Robotic Bear to aid in Assisted Suicide

A team of engineers working for the JSDD, with help from the Orient Industry Company have created an experimental robotic bear to assist in euthanasia and assisted suicide in Japan

A team of engineers working for the JSDD, with help from the Orient Industry Company have created an experimental robotic bear to assist in euthanasia and assisted suicide in Japan.

The growing suicide rate, as well as the senior population is becoming an increasing concern.  Hospital Staff, and Suicide Assistant Volunteers from the JSDD are required to help euthanize those who are unable to themselves due to physical, or psychological reasons.

To aid these carers and volunteers, the JSDD-Orient Industry Collaboration Center for Human-Interactive Robotics Research in the Bunkyo Ward of Tokyo has designed an assisted suicide support robot with the face of an innocent, loveable cartoon-like bear to aid patients in self-euthanasia named SeppuKuma.

SeppuKuma, which loosely translates to “Suicide Bear” has robotic arms that are able to carry up to 80kg of weight, hands that are powerful enough to crush human bone,  and roller legs that can retract or extend from a base as necessary when bending to pick someone up out of bed or when maneuvering through tight spaces like doorways.

The robot weighs 140kg and it is powered by specially designed software and advanced actuators (a type of motor that controls mechanisms).  SeppuKuma also offers 23 very different methods one can choose to end their life, including Everlasting Sleep (lethal injection), Pillow Kisses (suffocation), Peaceful Breath (helium asphyxia) and Sleepy time Hug which is where the robotic bear strangles its partner until their pulse stops for 15 minutes.  All of these attributes enable the SeppuKuma to give it’s patient the power to choose how they get to end their own life. An official from the JSDD says that, so far, robots have never been used for this purpose in any hospital.

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