Monday, April 03, 2006

Handy1-Rehabiliation robot for the severely disabled,helping you to eat and drink and brush and even do make-up!

U0204951-Xu Lixia The greatest benefits of robots are to be able to help those who are not able to take care of themselves. The ones who need robots most are those who are severly disabled. Eating meals might seem a "taken for granted" ability of humans beings, but what about those with cerebral palsy ?Cerebral palsy as you may wonder what it is, it is a broad term that describes a group of neurological (brain) disorders. It is a life-long condition that affects the communication between the brain and the muscles, causing a permanent state of uncoordinated movement and posturing. Thus patients with this disorder would not be able to control their movement. And needless to say, they will even have problems with the most basic ability of eating their own meals. So here comes their saviour-Handy1 Structure of Handy1 Handy1 consists of a Cyber 310 robotic arm with five degrees of freedom plus a gripper. A PC386 motherboard which was housed within the base unit of the Handy 1 was used to programme the movements for the system .A single switch input used in conjunction with a linear scanning control system was used as the user interface so as to cater for different disability group. Handy1 consists of three slide-on tray sections(eating/drinking, washing/shaving/teeth cleaning, and cosmetic application) that are detachable. A controller based upon PC104 technology was inbuilt in Handy1 so as to ensure that the design could be easily upgraded.The controller consist of a special input/output board that has the capabilities of voice recognition, speech synthesis, inputs for sensors, joystick control and stepper motor drivers. The tray sections are rested on runners attached to the Handy 1 and are connected electrically through a sixteen pin socket built integrally into the Handy 1 base unit. This makes it possible for the system to recognize up to fifteen different trays. There are feedbacks via potentiometers built at the joints of the Handy 1 so as to allow automatic referencing on start-up. The eating and drinking tray is also include features like automatic referencing on power up, positional feedback, error correction during operation and helpful speech prompts for users .This greatly increase the user friendliness of the system and break down language barriers. Eating/Drinking Tray In Handy 1, there is a scanning system of lights in the tray section. The user can select the food from any part of the dish. Once the system is turned on and food have been put into the walled columns of the food dish ,the series of seven lights will then begin to scan from left to right behind the food dish. What the user have to do now is to wait for the light to scan behind the column of the food that he/she wants to eat and then press Handy1 to set it into motion. The robot will then move on to the selected food and scoops up a spoonful of the selected food and then deliver it to the user mouth position. One point to note is that the user can remove the food at his own speed. The whole process will repeat itself till there are no more food left in the dish. To allow user to be able to have a drink, an eighth light is implemented into the tray. Washing/Shaving/Teeth Cleaning Tray In here, the robot can be used to pick up a sponge, bring the sponge into a bowl of water,soak the sponge and then squeeze out the excess water.Ina ddition,the robot can also apply soap to the sponge and then bring it to the user’s face position. After washing, water rinse and warm air dry options are available to the user for him/her to complete the task. In addition, an electric shaver and toothbrush and a drinking cup to rinse out the mouth are all integrated into the robot design. The user can pick up all these items and use them in any order. Both the shaver and toothbrush can be controlled and positioned at several parts of the face or mouth, allowing effective shaving or dental hygiene to be carried out. Cosmetic Application Tray In this tray, several cosmetics such as eye shadows, blusher and lipsticks can be chosen by user. The concept of how Handy1 works here is the same as that of eating. When Handy1 is switched on, a series of lights besides each of the cosmetic types will start to scan from left to right. When the light beside the cosmetic that is required is lit up, the user will then press on the switch and Handy1 will then choose the correct applicator and applies the correct amount of blusher or eye shadows etc. After which the robot will then place the applicator at the suitable face position whereby the user can apply the make up. Therefore from the above, we can see that Handy1 really can become a handy tool and it does can help severely disabled people to eat meals or brush teeth and even can help ladies to put up make-ups to make them pretty. Reference "AN OVERVIEW OF HANDY 1, A REHABILITATION ROBOT FOR THE SEVERELY DISABLED" by Mike Topping BA Cert Ed and Jane Smith BA Hons http://www.dinf.ne.jp/doc/english/Us_Eu/conf/csun_99/session0059.html

Source of the picture:aut-bscw.hut.fi/pub/bscw.cgi/ d1597/Assistive%20Robotics.ppt

6 comments:

Security said...

U0205183 Teo Yinling

This is really a useful robot that can do so many things. Really impressed by it. Especially, helping to make up.

U025445B Lau Duan Neng said...

As what Yinling had said, it is a useful robot and would certainly helps the disabled ones to lead a better lifestyle where they can now rely less on others. But with such an advanced technology that is being employed here, would the cost be so high that not many of the people can afford it? Or did they mentioned that they have manufactured it where even the middle-class people are able to afford it?

Edutainment said...

Oh Ai Ni Irene (U025732N)

From what I understand from this article, the robot captures user inputs/ information not by capturing the brain signals of the user, but by other user inputs such as voice commands, or maybe foot pedals. Successive generations of the robots can be built to be more sophiscated, by capturing brain signals directly from the users.

It is indeed a useful robot. More effort can be put in for it to be more compact and portable, so that disabled people can even eat out, with no need for people feeding them.

On a lighter note, I was amused by the make-up function offered by the robot. It is indeed a human-touch injected into the cold robot. Maybe ordinary people may find use for that if they have problems with applying make-up on their own!

Security said...

U0205109 Wu Jinjia

This robot is indeed very interesting. I guess it can replace the job of a maid very soon. The market for this robot is rather large as it can not only serve the disabled but also the old people.

What Irene suggested is in fact a very good idea. Using brain signals as input can definitely ease the control by the user greatly. However, this technology is not as matured. I guess there are still quite alot of research to be done in this area.

Hmmm.. I'm wondering how the robot knows the appropriate amount of eye shadow, blusher,.. to apply. Will the make up turn up like those in chinese stage drama? ;)

Medical said...

u0204610 Andy Tan

hmmz i realise this robot has a big arm and is doing a lot of work close to the face/head of the user... guess the user will have to be extra careful when using this machine and better send it for regular maintenance =ppp

Home said...

U0205044 Yan Meixian

I think having a robot that performs these tasks is much better than asking another person to help you since u can slowly experiment with the make-up colours without fearing the other party may lose his patience in the process. But as what Jinjia pointed out, I wonder what the outcome of the make-up will be like.. haha