Panasonic's New Business Promotion Project of Global Manufacturing Division and Analysis Center have recently joined the national robotics project "Center for Advanced Medical Robotics" in Thailand. On February 6, 2015, a signing ceremony and media event was held in Bangkok, Thailand with Yoshiyasu Honma, Project Leader of the New Business Promotion Project; Yoshihiko Namba, Director of Analysis Center; and three other members participating.
For the purpose of developing and demonstrating medical robots in Thailand, the Center for Advanced Medical Robotics, under the leadership of the Thailand Centre of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS)*1 and Mahidol University*2, has been funded for a five year period from 2013 to 2017 with 2 billion baht (approximately 7 billion Japanese yen).
From Panasonic, the New Business Promotion Project of Global Manufacturing Division and Analysis Center will participate in this project in such areas as Standardization and Authentication Support, Safe Design Consulting, and Demonstration of Robots. They will contribute to the advance of medical robot technology in Thailand by using the knowledge they have acquired through development and commercialization of robotic technologies represented by an autonomous delivery robot system "HOSPI" and an integrated care bed/wheelchair "RESYONE".
At the signing ceremony held on February 6, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by Dr. Nares Damrongchai, CEO of TCELS; Clinical Professor Udom Kachintorn, President of Mahidol University; and Project Leader Mr. Honma and Director Dr. Namba from Panasonic. Subsequently, a media event was held with a number of Thai media outlets.
Background on Involvement
Panasonic was involved in the development of ISO13482, an international safety standards for personal care robots, and the detailed Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) based on ISO13482. With these experiences, the Project will support formulation of Thai national safety standards, with a view to jointly submitting them to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in the future.
Further, by taking advantage of Panasonic's experience in developing and demonstrating robots, the Project can conduct pre-demonstration using Panasonic's robots and assist with demonstration of robots developed in Thailand. Specifically, expertise will be drawn from the arrangements and improvements made to Panasonic's robot system 'HOSPI" at the Matsushita Memorial Hospital in Osaka Japan especially during the introduction phase, know-how for effectively introducing robots to the work field, and also means to confirm the effectiveness of robots through demonstration.
Furthermore, Panasonic will also provide technical assistance in testing and authenticating robots. For example, they will support development of safe design for robots being used in Thailand and the start-up of a robot verification center. In this initiative, Panasonic will utilize various test methods, analysis techniques, and know-how for product risk assessment, which have been developed within Panasonic Group.
In the future, Panasonic will continue to work together to promote assistance in robot development in Thailand, and at the same time, through participation in this project, Panasonic aims to expand its robot business in ASEAN countries situated around Thailand. Further, they will promote partnerships with ASEAN countries on development of various standards, with the aim of making the standards used in Asia and in Japan, global standards.
*1 The Thailand Centre of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS): an organization established by the Royal Thai Government that promotes technology development with a focus on life sciences. Under the supervision of the Ministry of Science and Technology, it promotes national projects and encourages investment in universities, research institutions, and private enterprises.
*2 Mahidol University: one of top universities in Thailand, where the engineering faculty is closely linked to the medical faculty and consequently, has many activities related to medical science. The Faculty of Engineering Biomedical Engineering Laboratories is doing research and development related to medical robots.