CES 2015: the OriHime robot is a second body for bedbound patients

We’ve seen some incredible health innovations at CES this year, and one of our favourites is the OriHime robot by Ory Laboratory.

It’s a sweet, alien-esque robot that acts as a ‘personal avatar’ – or, effectively, second body – for people who are injured or ill enough that they can’t go out. Here’s a video explaining more:

OriHime was invented by Kentaro Yoshifuji, who couldn’t go to school between the ages of 10 and 14 because of health problems. The staff at the Ory Laboratory booth at CES told us that a patient left with paralysis after an accident used the OriHime robot to go on holiday to France with a friend, with the robot acting as his eyes and ears. It’s controlled through a smartphone, tablet, games controller or other connected device – even virtual reality headsets – and lets the patient see, hear, and interact with family and friends without being physically present. Here’s the robot demonstrating some of its functions on the CES show floor, including clapping and a really adorable hug:

At the moment, OriHime is maybe a bit odd-looking for some people’s tastes (it’s based on a Japanese theatre mask that’s supposed to be open to interpretation), but we love the idea of helping bedbound, lonely patients feel like they’re with their loved ones. Nice work, OriHime.

Holly Brockwell

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