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Exporters to benefit from new robotics programme

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Economic Development
Minister for Research Science and Technology

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister for Communications and Information Technology

20 June 2008
Media Statement

NZ exporters to benefit from new robotics programme

Economic Development and Research Science and Technology Minister, Pete Hodgson, and Communications and Information Technology Minister, David Cunliffe, have announced a major research programme into personalised robotics in the aged health sector which has the potential to place New Zealand in the export market of the growing global robotics industry.

Pete Hodgson said, “The global market for these types of products is estimated to be worth several billion US dollars. New Zealand firms alone may capture several hundred million dollars.”

The programme will examine the use of robotic devices in medical facilities that are essential to the health of many older New Zealanders.

“The Intelligent Robot Division at Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) and University of Auckland will establish the New Zealand/South Korea Robotics Centre. The centre will take the existing Korean robot template and customise it for the needs of medical professionals in western countries, including in New Zealand,” said Pete Hodgson.

“This work will help develop the technology for robotic nurse assistants, medication delivery robots and even social companions in hospitals.”

Pete Hodgson said that the government is supporting the centre with funding of $1.8 million over three years through its International Investment Opportunities Programme.

The programme will build on the University of Auckland’s expertise in robot programming, emotion recognition, psychological and clinical evaluation, healthcare informatics, wireless transmission and speech communication.

David Cunliffe said,”The Centre is a tribute to the efforts of the University’s researchers, Auckland UniServices and government officials.”

“It is also an example of researchers, specialist managers and the government working together to take a significant step towards world-class products with global export opportunities.

“The research team will work closely with New Zealand companies and Korean robotics companies to develop health and elder care robotic technologies and applications for export to the growing international market.”


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