NOROROT is a stair climbing robot designed and developed by JTEKT Corporation together with University of Tokyo Kamata lab. JTEKT Corporation is a Japanese based company part of Toyota Group and is specialized in auto parts and machine tools. The prototype was shown for the first time at the 26th Japan International Machine Tool Fair and was inspired by iBOT. iBOT is a powered wheelchair designed by Dean Kamen and uses two sets of powered wheels. The wheelchair can go up and down on stairs by rotating slightly the sets of wheels to match up the step on each stair dimensions.
The need to use such robots is increasing in Japan due to the high proportion of people aged of 65, people who moving with difficulty and requiring transport to climb or descend stairs. The technology that underlies the stair climbing robot can be used in other applications like rescue or search operations or in industry to transport various components on stairs or terrain with high difficulty.
In the initial form of electric wheelchairs this prototype can be found on the market starting with 2017.
How it works
The robot detect the stairs using a proximity sensor without using any physical contact. Horizontal movement is measured by an inverted pendulum with center of mass above its pivot point which send commands to high-torque actuators to keep the robot on position.
NOROROT uses new inventions in electric power steering, control, and sensors.
Gizmag, NOROROT robotic vehicle could lead to stair-climbing wheelchairs by 2017;