The aging population in developing countries may need robot assistance to care for patients. Unlike the industrial robots, these nursing robots will interact with humans so their movements should be very delicate.
If a robot picks up a patient, he or she could be bruised in areas of strong force. The movements of the robotic arms must not cause a person any pain or discomfort, and they must give a sense of comfort and security.
In this patent (US Patent No: US 6430475) by the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan, the main invention concerns the contact sensors capable of sensing pressure distribution through a pressure-sensitive sheet. This information is then used to control the robot's force and make it more delicately tuned to the patient's need.