Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (TOKYO: 6981) (ISIN: JP3914400001) has teamed up with Kowa Co., Ltd., a general manufacturer of welfare products, to develop a personalized Electric Walking Assist Car, which the companies describe as an "Electric Walking Assist Car" and that goes by the name of "KeePace."
As a result of the progress made in "assist control systems," which incorporate Murata's own MEMS gyro sensor*1 and inclinometers*2 as well as its inverted pendulum control technology*3, uphill mobility support and turning functions have undergone a quantum leap in improvement.
Murata's technological PR robots — the "MURATA BOY" bicycle-riding robot and "MURATA GIRL" unicycle-riding robot — use inverted pendulum control technology centered on gyro sensors to detect the inclination of the robot body to achieve "stopping without falling over," where the robot comes to a standstill without toppling over. The company applied this technology and exhibited a concept model of an Electric Walking Assist Car at last year's CEATEC JAPAN 2011. Now it has worked on the joint development of this kind of vehicle with Kowa Co., Ltd., which has cornered a 50% share of Japan's market for Electric Walking Assist Car for the elderly and handicapped, as a personalized transport vehicle designed to be used by the elderly and the handicapped who have problems walking. Incorporated in the "assist control systems," which are a Murata core technology, are Murata's MEMS gyro sensors and inclinometers and the inverted pendulum control technology that makes use of these sensors, and by the optimal design of the drive mechanism and control units, a smaller size has been achieved while the uphill mobility support and turning functions have been significantly enhanced.
Mr. Hideharu Ieki, Executive Vice President of Murata Manufacturing says "we believe that there is still plenty of room for electronics to find uses in nursing care and welfare equipment. We at Murata are hoping to move our products onto the market with all due speed as an example of being in the vanguard of the health care field to which Murata is currently paying a great deal of attention."
Murata in Brief
Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and sale of ceramic-based passive electronic components & solutions, communication modules and power supply modules. With annual revenues of ¥585 billion (~$7.1B USD) , Murata is committed to the development of advanced electronic materials and leading edge, multi-functional, high-density modules. The company has employees and manufacturing facilities throughout the world. For more information, visit Murata's website at http://www.murata.com.