Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Japan Helps its people

The population of people in Japan who are 65 years old or above occupies more than 20% of the whole population, and the current birth rate is getting low. Also, japan has a number of mentally and physically disabled people as much as all the other countries around the world. Thus, more people will need some policies to remove barriers from their lives in order for them to be comfortable and enjoy their lives as they participate in the society and its activities. That is, the idea that we have to cope with not only physical barriers but also social, systematical and mental ones. These ideas are called "barrier-free", "universal design", and “new technologies”.
Barrier-free is about removing the mental and physical barriers that trouble people in need. This idea is considered to be the solution of physical problems, but also the purpose is to encourage those who have some difficulties in their lives to take part in the social activities. It also gives them an easy access everywhere. So barrier-free makes life easier and enjoyable for elderly people within their society. These obstacles are in roads and buildings like steps and facilities, the unfair chances for these people to enroll or to get a job somewhere, the prejudice and the discrimination against them originated in the ignorance and the indifference of the normal people. Barrier-free is aiming to eliminate all these barriers.
Universal designed products and facilities are for all people in spite of their age and disabilities. This idea has 7 principles which are the equality, the flexibility, the simple design, the easy understanding, the safety, the ecology and the storage. The examples of universal design are indentations of shampoo's bottle, the point display of beer cans, non-step buses and toilets with many functions. And those universal designed products are highly beneficial.
Japan is also making new technologies who aim more and more to help disabled Japanese people. This help differs on the technology the electronic companies want to make. Some examples would be:

1) Cyberdyne an electronic company made a robotic suit that can help elderly people or people with Parkinson diseases to move. The concept is that the robot The HAL“The Hybrid Assisted Limb” catches the message sent from the brain to the muscles to move and makes the body move accordingly to the original message. The HAL is expected to be applied in a lot of fields like rehabilitation, physical training, and also to help disabled people.

2) The Taizo Robot that motivates the elderly people with exercise by giving them moves to do for 2 hours before it needs to be charged again. the Taizo is heavy ( 7 kilograms) and very expensive( 10 000 euro) so not a lot of people will be able to afford it or carry it places.

3) Honda’s body weight support system is a ‘walking assist device’. This device takes the majority of the weight the person uses away. It can help people to walk and climb stairs.
All these ideas are made specifically to facilitate people's lives.


1 comment:

  1. Japan's robotics is way ahead of other countries, perhaps because of more of a perceived need - such as assisting the growing elderly population. This is an important topic and you do a good job of putting it in the barrier free context.

    Where are your own original photos?