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This paper describes a new type of assistance system that can support bedridden patients to reduce the burden of nursing care. The first component is an electric wheelchair that can be modified to function as a portable bed by reclining the seat. The second component is a new type of lift for carrying a patient from the wheelchair to the bath, or to a normal bed. The third component is a new type of bathtub made from vinyl cloth and supported by an aluminum frame and that can be moved easily. Generally, it is difficult for a caregiver to move a bedridden patient between the bed and the bathroom, and bathing patients who are lying in bed is one of the most difficult tasks for caregivers. Using the proposed items such as the wheelchair and the lift, caregivers can more easily bathe patients. Another challenging task for caregivers is helping patients with incontinence. To help overcome this problem, we have designed a small mobile robot with a portable toilet to set up under the seat of the wheelchair. The robot can move inside the house after moving out from under the wheelchair. The proposed omni-directional mechanism allows the robot with the portable toilet to adjust not only to a narrow room such as a restroom but also to a narrow hallway. For the final component of our system, we designed a cleaning mechanism for the portable toilet, with an autonomous control system.
Date of Conference: 21-22 Dec. 2010