KUALA LUMPUR, OCT. 12 – Technology Park Malaysia Corporation Sdn Bhd (TPM), will unveil the country’s first locally-developed robotics technology for medical rehabilitation at the five-day National Innovation and Creative Economy 2017 (NICE 2017) Expo starting today.

TPM Engineering, wholly owned subsidiary of TPM Corporation Sdn Bhd started the project in 2015 incollaboration with SIRIM, Malaysian Indutry-Government Group for High Techology (MIGHT) and UNIKL.

This DSTIN Flagship project, funded by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) was aimed to develop robotic applications for medical rehabilitation.  One of the main deliverables of the project is to come out with a Roadmap for the development of rehabilitation robots.  The objective of the Roadmap is to provide clear understanding of the opportunities so that an appropriate product and technology development approach can be charted out.

According to TPM President and CEO, Dato’ Ir. Mohd Azman Haji Shahidin, the project roadmap for the development of medical rehabilitation robots has been identified not only from the technology standpoint, but also from the humanity and social responsibility aspects.

“Whilst it can be appreciated that there are abundant opportunities to be tapped in this field, there is also a need to strike a balance to the growing demand to address rehabilitation processes for the elderly and handicap assistance and social obligations,” he added.

The project was kicked off on a successful note with several workshops jointly organised by TPME and MIGHT Technology Nurturing Sdn Bhd with the relevant stakeholders from the industries, research institutions and academia on key issues and opportunities.

“It enabled interested participants to gain a first-hand insight into the development and opportunities that the robotic technology industry has to offer. It also provided participants the networking opportunity to discuss and engage each other to explore potential collaborative efforts of mutual interest.

“The participants included doctors, physiotherapists, inventors, researchers, technopreneurs, engineers, financial professionals, rehabilitation providers and product suppliers, among others,” said Azman.

The Institute Federation of Robotics has classified the robotic technology to include the design, construction, operation, intelligence system and application of robots as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback and information processing.

This innovative field features mainly industrial robotics, technology robotics and services robotics. Industrial robotics is employed in industrial automation application robots where the major players are Japan, USA and Germany.

In the case of service robotics, its applications are utilised in the medical, military, consumer and agricultural sectors. The main players are Korea, France, Japan, USA, Germany and Southeast Asia (including Malaysia).

According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the total global sales are projected to reach 400,000 units in 2018. In 2014, industrial robots sales increased by 29% to 229,261 units valued at US$10.7 billion, while robotic systems, inclusive of software, peripherals and systems engineering was US$32 billion.

The global robotic technology industry for the period 2015-2018 as projected by IFR is that professional use service robots (defence, agriculture, medical and logistics) are forecast to see an increase to about 152,375 units with a value of US$ 19.6 billion.

The sales of robots for elderly and handicapassistance will be about 12,400 units and is expected to increase substantially within the next 20 years.

The handicap assistance robots have taken off to the anticipated degree in the past few years. In 2014, a total of 4,416 robots were sold, up from 699 in 2013 – an increase of 542%. This increase is partly due to a more complete coverage.

With its credentials and expertise as among one of the pioneers in the local robotics industry, TPME is confident of providing the necessary solutions to all stakeholders in the relevant industries and research institutions. It has the capability and capacity to assist entrepreneurs and technopreneurs who are keen to expand their business horizon in the robotics industry and/or engineering sectors.

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