Date : July 17, 2020
Notice: Press Tour: Technology and Imagination for Living Together with COVID-19
post date : 2020.07.10
Theme: Cutting-edge technology supporting people’s lives during the "with corona" era
As society shifts towards coexistence with COVID-19, there is increasing hope for the role that cutting-edge technology will be able to play in efforts to prevent the spread of infection while engaging in social and economic activity. This press tour will cover examples using the latest technology such as virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to support the physical and mental health of people including seniors during the "with corona" era, to help people live happy, pleasant lives. The tour will cover the RehaVR rehabilitation toolkit for seniors, and the family-type robot Lovot.
1. Rehabilitation Toolkit for Seniors: RehaVR
Keeping mentally and physically healthy even during the pandemic, with virtual walks indoors
In this age of living alongside COVID-19, when it is not possible to go outside freely due to the risk of infection, there is particularly concern over a decline in the mental and physical health of seniors. At the same time, as normal travel is not currently possible VR travel has been growing in popularity around the world, and there has been growing interest in technology to combine rehabilitation with VR travel, allowing seniors to enjoy exercise indoors even during the pandemic.
RehaVR is a lower-body rehabilitation training kit for seniors which uses virtual reality technology. When the user puts on the VR headset and pedals the small fitness bicycle, the VR video moves to match their speed. There are over 160 videos to choose from, including videos of cities famous for tourism, natural scenery, and walking dogs. Viewing the panoramic VR video while pedaling allows them to feel like they are actually taking a walk, with the goal of making it possible for them to enjoy their training routine up to completion. Incorporating fun into the simplistic motions of functional training can help increase users’ motivation so they want to walk longer, with the goal of increasing the effectiveness of rehabilitation.
Mr. KUMITA Hiroshi, president of Silvereye Inc., a company providing services using VR and AR (augmented reality), developed RehaVR, together with Professor IMAIZUMI Kazuya of Tokyo Healthcare University, based on his own experience of rehabilitation, wishing for more entertaining methods. Since going on sale in September 2019, the system has been put into use at over ten facilities in Japan, including hospitals and nursing homes, and there are plans in place to perform studies on what effect using VR has on the outcome of training.
The tour will visit Tokyo Healthcare University and hear from Mr. Kumita and Prof. Imaizumi about how RehaVR works, as well as about the role of VR services in an aged society during the “with corona” era. There will also be a demonstration.
[Photos: silvereye Inc.]
2. Family-type Robot: Lovot
Cute robots with the latest technology and AI providing people with love and courage during the coronavirus pandemic
Lovot was created by Groove X, Inc., a company led by Mr. HAYASHI Kaname, who was involved in the development of Softbank’s humanoid robot Pepper. Lovot was based on the concept of “being adorable despite not being useful,” and is a “family-type robot” designed as a partner to give people the energy to live through tomorrow by drawing out people’s ability to love. At around 40 centimeters tall, Lovots are soft and warm to the touch. They remember and grow fond of people who hug them, and will come greet you at the entrance when you come home.
Contrary to their adorable appearance, Lovots contain sensor and AI technology on a par with that of self-driving cars. Their lifelike actions include not only preprogrammed actions, but also ones created in real time by using machine learning to process the input from the over 50 sensors located on their body. Based on their interactions with their owner, Lovots will begin to show unique personalities.
Having become a hot topic immediately after going on sale in the fall of 2019, with orders needing to wait to be filled due to high demand, Lovot gained even further attention during the pandemic as “a savior for staying at home.” Sales increased by nearly five times compared to before the pandemic, and from June, they have also been introduced as a test case in an elementary school in Kita City, Tokyo to provide mental support to children suffering from stress due to the coronavirus pandemic, and help teach them consideration.
The tour will visit the Lovot Museum at Groove X’s head office and hear an explanation, followed by an interview with Lovot creator and Groove X president Mr. Hayashi.
[Photos (up and left): Groove X, Inc.]
*The schedule is not yet finalized, and may change without notice.
<Friday, July 17>
10:10 Meet at Kamimachi Station (Tokyu Setagaya Line)
10:30-12:00 RehaVR (@Tokyo Healthcare University Setagaya Campus)
(Travel and lunch on your own)
14:00 Meet at Hamacho Station (Toei Shinjuku Line)
14:15-16:00 LOVOT (@Groove X Inc.）
16:10 Tour ends
2. Qualification: Bearer of Gaimusho Press Registration Card
3. Cost: 1,000 Yen per person, NOT including transportation and lunch.
*Information on payment and cancellation fee will be provided to participants.
4. Participants: Limited to 7 applicants.
(Only one reporter or one photographer from each company, but two participants from each TV team will be acceptable.)
*If the number of applicants exceeds 7, an upper limit may be set on the number of participants from each country/region.
5. FPCJ Contact: SUGAWARA Junya, SAKUMA Chiaki, and ISHIKADO Azusa (Tel: 03-3501-3405、E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
6. Measures for COVID-19
Please follow the directions of the staff, such as taking temperatures before the tour, wearing masks and face shields during the tour, washing hands, and using disinfectant. In the following cases, you will not be able to join the tour:
(1) If you have a fever of 37.5°C or over when your temperature is taken before the tour starts
(2) If, in the two weeks before the day of the tour, you had a fever, cough, sore throat or other cold symptoms, difficulties tasting or smelling, fatigue, shortness of breath, or other symptoms
(3) If, in the two weeks before the day of the tour, you came into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
(4) If a family member living with you or other close acquaintance is suspected to have COVID-19
(5) If, in the two weeks before the day of the tour, you have travelled to a country under travel restrictions or requiring an observation period after entering Japan, or have come into close contact with someone who has
(1) This tour is organized and operated by the FPCJ.
(2) The schedule is subject to change without notice.
(3) This tour will require participants to bear part of the cost, but is not a profit-making venture.
(4) FPCJ will not be liable for any inconvenience, trouble or accidents that might occur during the tour.
(5) There may be some restrictions on photographing and filming at the tour sites. Please follow the instructions of the staff in charge.