Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a system by combining two technologies which are redesigning the modern world; improving reality and robotics. And this system increases hope of those, who are suffering from some types of motor damages. It would also let these people move and undertake the regular chores which would be unfeasible.
The new system would allow these individuals to move and take on daily tasks that would be otherwise impossible.
“Be My Eyes and Hands”
Out of the world’s total population, 15% or 1 billion suffer from different types of disabilities. According to the report published in the journal PLOS ONE, this new system can assist those who fail to perform motor skills, perform tasks like brushing their teeth, feeding themselves, or simply picking up a book to read.
Therefore, people like to turn on a humanoid robot to help finish these tasks as the robot’s web-based interface present allows the user to see their surrounding environments through the lenses of the machine, significantly improving the quality life of the disabled.
The aim of the Georgia Institute of Technology was to look at ways to make the complex robots that are currently available, more accessible to those with disabilities. Those with limited motor skills could, in fact, control a robot using standard assistive computer access technologies like eye trackers and head trackers.
Phillip Grice, a recent Ph.D. graduate Georgia Institute of Technology who is the first author of the paper told, “Our results suggest that people with profound motor deficits can improve their quality of life using robotic body surrogates. We have taken the first step toward making it possible for someone to purchase an appropriate type of robot, have it in their home and derive real benefit from it.”Improving the Quality of Life
The study was divided into two parts. The initial study arranged 15 participants with higher motor impairments and also learned the functioning of a PR2 robot, which has 20 degrees of freedom, with two arms and a “head”.
It has also been noticed that 80% of participants could control the robot remotely to help them pick up a bottle of water and carry it to a mouth.
Grice says, “The participants were able to perform tasks effectively and showed improvement on a clinical evaluation that measured their ability to manipulate objects compared to what they would have been able to do without the robot.”
In the second part of the study, researchers let Henry Evans, a California man who has been helping Georgia Tech researchers in the study and advance assistive robotic systems, fetch the PR2 system home for seven days.
Evans could create unique ways to take care of himself and tried on himself wash and brush himself by means of the PR2 robot. “The system was very liberating to me, in that it enabled me to independently manipulate my environment for the first time since my stroke,” said Evans.
With the decrease in the price of complex robotics, tools like PR2 could become a possible option for those with motor impairments in the very near future.