Bright Ideas for Better LivingBy Sibenaller, Sara; Sporner, Michelle; PN: Paraplegia News, Vol. 62, No. 4, pp. 32-34
Publication Date: April 2008
Article reports on technical innovations to benefit people with disabilities, presented at the January 2008 State of the Science Workshop. Presenters were scientists from the Quality of Life Technology Center (QoLT) an engineering research center at Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh Universities funded by the National Science Foundation. The following innovations were included: (1) An assistive robot for the home, composed of a Segway base, a WAM robotic arm similar to that used in building automobiles, and a BarrettHand at the end of the arm used to handle objects such as cups and utensils; (2) a personal mobility and manipulation appliance, which integrates robotic arms with a power wheelchair in a “27 degrees of freedom” system, similar to the dexterity of the human hand, to perform coordinated tasks such as opening doors or changing light bulbs. The system is intended for users with severe disabilities; (3) eWatch, a virtual coach which monitors user activities and provides appropriate feedback in order for end users to complete everyday tasks; for example, eWatch can be placed on the wrist to monitor stroke-propulsion patterns and give feedback to manual-wheelchair users; and (4) a pre-engineered, fully accessible module home, presented by Blueroof Technologies, a company which is developing natural-environment test beds on an area of land which will hold 15 to 20 new single-family houses in Pennsylvania. These home environments will enable researchers to analyze how end users interact with new assistive technologies.
Published by: PVA Publications (Website:http://www.pvamagazines.com)
Paralyzed Veterans of America (Web Site: http://www.pva.org )