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Hstar Technologies' RoNA™ Honored by Healthcare and Robotics Industries

Robotic nursing assistant wins innovation spotlight and Game Changer award at two conferences while company leaders hint at the future of in-home robotics

CAMBRIDGE, MA—October 23, 2013—Hstar Technologies today announced that its robotic patient lifting system, RoNA™, is taking center stage this week at two independent events honoring innovation in the connected health and robotics industries. While showcasing the award-winning robot, Hstar executives will also introduce its future RoNA family member, RoNA SerBot.

The Innovation Spotlight

During the Connected Health Symposium’s second annual Innovators Challenge, only twenty of the 300-plus applicants will be honored by healthcare experts seeking viable and meaningful connected health tools that branch beyond hospitals into patients’ lives. Earning one of those coveted slots, Hstar will be demonstrating RoNA’s invaluable potential to positively affect healthcare practices today in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Award

The International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems along with other industry pundits will announce RoNA’s receipt of the first-ever Game Changer Award, an accolade revealed last night by Robotics Business Review. This award program recognizes the inspired projects and engineers “daring to push robotics, and us, forward” through the introduction of disruptive designs. The award will be formally declared this morning during the RoboBusiness conference in Santa Clara, California.

The Industry Challenge & the Groundbreaking Solution

Musculoskeletal disorders often emerging as back injuries are widely reported as a dramatic manpower and financial burden on the healthcare industry. In fact, caregivers—typically relying on unsafe or ineffective patient lifting techniques—suffer more of those disorders than workers in any other occupation. Lifting on average 1.8 tons per eight-hour shift, healthcare workers and their related ailments cost the industry an estimated $20 billion annually. The opportunity to help caregivers and their patients inspires Hstar’s research and development team to advance its initial research project, the RoNA Robotic Patient Lifting System.

RoNA is an autonomous, intelligent robotic nursing assistant capable of lifting and maneuvering patients weighing up to 500 pounds. The proprietary design relies on numerous innovations achieved by the company’s expert engineers to deliver an exponentially higher rate of successful, safer and more comfortable lifts compared to today’s commonly used techniques.

For patient safety, RoNA employs stability systems with intrinsically safe force-sensing compliant actuators. For maximized usefulness in a hospital setting, the robot’s omnidirectional mobility permits it to navigate through and within work areas—confined or otherwise—that other tools, such as mobile slings, cannot.

For better staff efficiency, RoNA’s self-navigation and obstacle avoidance capabilities empower it to steer itself to patient rooms down the hall or on different floors. Thus, caregivers can remotely call for RoNA rather than manually retrieve it. Telepresence and remote operation capabilities also allow for remote visits and basic patient monitoring by other healthcare providers.

Such features enable staff to optimize their time, freeing them to focus on more critical patient-related concerns. Additional benefits of deploying RoNA include fewer patient falls, reduced workplace injuries and lost manpower, as well as improved staff retention and patient satisfaction.

RoNA’s Evolution: RoNA SerBot

Today, Harrison Roberts, Hstar board of directors member and strategic advisor, will be introducing audiences at the Connected Health Symposium to the forthcoming RoNA SerBot. Slated for release next year, RoNA SerBot is a modified edition of RoNA designed to provide general assistance in the home. The goal is to arm the chronically ill, elderly or otherwise infirmed with greater mobility and an improved sense of independence.

About Hstar Technologies Corporation

Founded in 2007 by leading MIT roboticists, Hstar Technologies Corporation pursues groundbreaking robotics research and development with the support of private investors and more than $7 million in grants from the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Hstar develops industry-leading robots to enhance automation quality in warehouse, healthcare and research settings, making improvements in the areas of automation intelligence, safety, flexibility and human productivity.

Hstar’s team is comprised of innovative, highly trained robotics engineers with more than thirty years of collective robotics development experience. The company’s headquarters and main development facility are located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Manufacturing operations will be provided by Handy Robotics Technologies, Hstar’s China-based sister company.  

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