The Robots Are Coming!By Cooper, Rory A.; PN: Paraplegia News, Volume 65, Number 7, pages 16-20
Publication Date: July 2011
Article discusses the role of robotic devices in assisting people with disabilities. Smart homes are included in this category, as they incorporate adjustable heating and lighting systems and security and monitoring systems to provide constant access to and control of appliances. Smart home examples given are a “cognitive kitchen” that provides cues to guide people in cooking via computer generated verbal cues and changes in lighting such as lighting up a drawer handle; and a joint project of Catholic University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center to design smart homes incorporating universal design and environmental and home security technology for wounded warriors on active duty and their families. Japan is cited as the leader in developing robotic butlers to aid their aging population, such as Asimo from Honda, a humanoid robot with abilities such as walking and climbing stairs. Another such robot described is the Home Environment Robotic Butler (HERB) with a Segway base and two Barrett Arms used as manipulators, a joint project of the Intel Corporation and the National Science Foundation. HERB can learn how to pick up and move obstructive objects and accept objects from and hand them to humans. An example of a smart electric wheelchair given is one designed for terrain-dependent control, developed at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) with support from the U.S. Army. Finally, fixed and wheelchair mounted robotic arms are described, such as the MANUS ARM; the Strong-Arm, which has a payload capacity of about 250 pounds and can assist with transfers; and the Personal Mobility and Manipulation Appliance (PerMMA), which contains a mobile robotic base that can accommodate a variety of seating systems and controls and incorporates two robotic arms.
Published by: PVA Publications (Website:http://www.pvamagazines.com)
Paralyzed Veterans of America (Web Site: http://www.pva.org )