TOKYO -- Yaskawa Electric is improving the user-friendliness of robots used in such medical applications as dispensing pharmaceuticals and processing samples.
Users will select functions from touch-panel LCD screens to operate the robots. Programs will be installed in advance so that robots can be put into service immediately without requiring a pharmacist or technician to undertake complex work.
The Japanese company envisions its robots being used in specimen pre-analysis processing such as mixing in drugs, and dispensing chemotherapy drugs, which are dangerous to touch. Using robots to automate work that until now has relied heavily on manual labor will boost efficiency.
Customers in the medical field will start testing the robots in Japan this summer. One system costs nearly 100 million yen ($976,000).
Yaskawa plans to improve the robots further based on customer responses and will launch full-scale sales next year. It will sell the devices to global pharmaceutical companies and research institutions through local subsidiaries.