Thursday, June 1, 2023

A person who is looking for new technologies

Kenji Matsui, in a speech at the first edition of FITECU.

“In 2011, we had a huge, huge, tsunami in Japan and we had a serious problem [en Fukushima]. So it was a struggle to see how robots could be sent to action in nuclear plants, to solve it…”, Kenji Matsui explains to D+I. In Chernobyl, countless people gave their lives in the first hours to try to stop the radiation.

Matsui is the director of the Osaka Institute of Technology Center for Design and Robotics, a professor at Osaka University, cooperates with technical companies (“in the industry”, he says), and participates in the design process at Stanford. To put it very briefly, the world is one in the science of robots.

And Japan is probably the country most concerned about the future with robots. Robots of the future that already have a foothold in the present.

In 2014, then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (who died in July last year) launched a national initiative called the Japan Revitalization Strategy, which was revised in 2015 with the Robotic Revolution directive.

Japanese diplomatic sources defined it as “a political achievement aimed at promoting the use of robotics to meet the challenges of an aging population.”

Retirement after 64″

“The age group of 65 years and over was 30% of the population in 2020 and the projection indicates that in the next 20 years it will rise to at least 40%”, explains Matsui, who, as an expert in robotics used for care. professor at the FITECU Fair in Villardeciervos, Zamora a few days ago, where he spoke with D+I.

Data on aging in Japan is contributing and he thinks that “older people work longer. At the age of 60 to 64, 70% to work. From 65 to 69 years old, 50% still do it. And at 74, still 30%, says Matsui. The average life expectancy is about 84 years.For women, 88 years.

On the other hand, ‘healthy life’ expectancy naturally decreases with increasing age. And, as the top said, “the population declines because the birth rate falls,” says the professor.

The big problem that prompted his government to look for solutions “robotic but also with other technologies” is that there are not enough workers to take care of this large part of the “survival” of the population, as he says. “We have between 1.9 and 2 million people working in care and in 2025 we will need 2.5 million. Every time there are fewer young people, and more and more old people. Therefore, we need technology and services,” he added.

Kennedy’s challenge

Three years ago, the Japanese government launched a new technological development program inspired by a speech by John F. Kennedy, who in 1962 challenged the United States to reach the moon in the same decade. It seemed insurmountable and was completed in 1969. This is what is called the moon moon (moon shots). A classic concept in the field of innovation: deep and ambitious goals.

“Lots of companies are doing this, like Google in the Alphabet X project on the site. It’s about doing everything to make it possible to achieve almost impossible goals, like science is a tool,” Matsui warns.

Today’s challenge from the Japanese government proposes nine “shots at the moon”. From the year 2000, the goal is to achieve “a society in which people lack the limits of body, mind, space and time”, according to the director of the program Hagita Norihiro.

Other objectives are the prediction of “ultra-mature” diseases; the evolution of AI and robotics; to decontaminate the planet; to achieve food sustainability; universal quantum computer to blame; to reach 100 years of life without health problems; control and control the weather; and increase peace of mind and vigor.

“The government is helping with the financing and team building. It is a national group of universities working together,” explains Matsui. And although the objectives, which are so called, may seem like a hymn to simplicity, he sees it in effect: “If you are thinking about how to grow your business, but the time is bad, you have to think. new and in the end they collaborate”.

Among these projects, in the field of robotics and automated support systems, there are classic projects for more than a decade, which include support systems to move disabled people, or with limited walking ability, and make it easier for them to go to the toilet or wash. .

little robots

From 2017, exoskeleton design, communication systems and remote monitoring and telecare are more relevant. “You know C3PO, from Star Wars?” he asks. It tries to achieve this goal, but also small robots with which it can communicate, for example, in order to bring something bigger to the user.

Matsui shows videos of various experimental devices: an avatar that acts as a receptionist in a hotel, a robotic mechanism that helps to move a wheelchair, a cart that follows a customer with a purchase through the supermarket, the voice of assistants… the problem is that robots are very expensive,” the journalist admitted. Many companies have started to develop robots, but there is no market because they are expensive.” And that complaint we have is business.

Another thing that seems to bother him, looking for an example in some of the models developed by Boston Dynamics, is the ability to incorporate arms. “Technologies can be, for example, medical uses; but also as a scary thing.

He claims that out of the “lots of competition out there” to find specific solutions, great robotics technology can emerge. They used to intervene in the aforementioned Fukushima disaster. “There are many types of robots, but you can control machines with a common platform,” he said.

With regard to the possible ethical problems and problems of compatibility in society that are shown around the use of robots, with the addition of artificial intelligence, he prefers to explain “the strengths of the industry”. [los que realmente tienen peso hoy] they are doing well. But when it comes to designing robots that are more capable of natural movements and doing complex things, that can be considered our big challenge today.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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