Augmented Reality System Lets Severely Disabled Operate Own Robots

The disabled person will be able to control the robot

In the case of disabled people, it is often understood that the robots kept for them will need to be extremely smart, so much that they can easily replace human caretakers. However, instead of empowering these robots, a different approach has been tried by the engineers at Georgia Tech. In their approach, it is the disabled person who will be able to control the robot.

A video feed is passed from the robot’s camera to a computer close to the patient which enables the patient to see everything that the robot can see. Thus it gives an opportunity to the patient to carefully plan and control the movements of the robot in question. PR2 mobile manipulator, a robot from a Silicon Valley robotics firm named Willow Garage was used. This particular robot, the PR2 mobile manipulator is a humanoid robot. It can perform functions including holding towels, spoons and so on.  A popular feature of this robot is that it can scratch an itch.

Severely disabled people were involved in two studies to find out whether they can operate operators. These people were already accustomed to using eye and head trackers or some other kind of interface. Out of the two studies, one of them was rather ‘virtual’. It involved them to control the robot that was not right in front on them, instead somewhere else. The outcome was a positive one proving that even a complex robot can be managed by severely disabled people.

The other study was the direct use of the PR2 robot to an extent of taking its advantage of doing menial tasks such as shave, brush teeth and simultaneously do other tasks such as using a towel to clean up. In the coming times, as the prices of robots are falling it might become feasible for many to own such robots and letting their caretakers be employed in doing something more important

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