Accelerate - September 2014

NZ-Japan robotics partnership announced

open this image in new window: Accelerate Sep 14 - Robotics Partnership

New Zealand’s robotics industry is collaborating more and this is paying off with international projects.

Callaghan Innovation is part of two multi-institutional teams from New Zealand that will work collaboratively with Japan to improve the care of the elderly through robotics and human assistive devices.

One project will be led by Callaghan Innovation and The University of Auckland’s (UoA) Bioengineering Institute and will focus on improvements to the robotic assistive walking suit in collaboration with Japan’s Shinshu University.

The other project, led by the UoA Robotics Research Group and the University of Canterbury (UoC) will focus on design and scoping requirements for a lightweight robotic arm, in partnership with Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Ritsumeikan University, and Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR).

“We believe these collaborations are great opportunities for the New Zealand robotics research community to boost its capabilities, grow its international networks and secure its place as a global contender,” says Andrew Dawson, national network manager sensing technologies at Callaghan Innovation. “Robotics, automation and sensing technologies are game-changing technologies and New Zealand has some excellent skills in this area.”

Dr Prue Williams, science investments general manager at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) says that Japan is a key science and innovation partner for New Zealand. “This collaboration will enable Kiwi researchers to strengthen ties with our Japanese colleagues on an important topic for both countries. We are helping to maximise the critical contribution of science for our wellbeing and to strengthen New Zealand’s economic growth and prosperity.”

MBIE announced that it will provide funding of $150 000 over three financial years for both these projects.

“Robotics and sensing technologies are important technology areas for Callaghan Innovation and we have started to initiate greater networking and knowledge-sharing platforms in the New Zealand industry to boost its development,” says Dawson. “In line with this objective, the New Zealand Robotics, Automation and Sensing (NZRAS) network was recently launched to give researchers with a strong interest in applying these technologies a platform to collaborate, network and partner on projects.”

Updated: 4 September 2015