Friday, April 06, 2007

Mainstream Assistive Robotics for the less-abled

We often see disabled people as dependent on society and the people around them for help with simple everyday activities that we take for granted. However, I deeply feel that they possess a mental strength and courage that we cannot even begin to appreciate as we do not fully understand the trials that they go through everyday. Many disabled people are sharp, energetic and full of life, but sadly limited to their physical conditions.

With the use of assistive technology, a difference can be made to help them re-gain their functional independence, self respect and greater acceptance in society, so that they too have the opportunity to lead lives as fulfilling and exciting as anyone else. Assistive technology also makes good economic sense as it helps to reduce the need for expensive human aid and informal care for such simple tasks as preparing meals, opening doors, performing simple household chores and even shopping.

Exact Dynamics, a company based in the Netherlands, has been producing and selling an Assistive Robotic Manipulator (ARM) that can be mounted on wheelchairs and used by less-abled people. Using a combination of a joystick and a keypad, the user can control the ARM to perform a variety of tasks ranging from simple ones such as opening doors and cupboards to high-precision tasks such as pouring milk, drawing and even playing musical instruments.

With such technology to aid these disabled people, they can now live independently at home without the need for a nanny. The ARM functions as a virtual replacement of their hand and they can perform simple tasks around the house.

Even when they are outdoors, they are functionally independent and can get to enjoy life as well as everyone else. This truly is a piece of enabling technology that has the capacity to greatly improve the lives of many disabled people around the world.

More images from source website can be found here

U037779R, Han Mingding


Assistive said...

This is a good way of allowing diabled people to gain more independence. Now the control is based input from a joystick. As technology improve, maybe an input system of recognising brain waves to control the arm. This will allow even people who have lost the use their arms to use the system.

Feng Junwei Benjamin

Medical said...

Apart from such robots, there are other Exoskeletal or 'wearable' robots, which in principle, provide therapeutic exercise and function as powered orthoses to help compensate for chronic weakness. There is quite a lot of research going on to develop mechanisms and robots to aid disabled people.

Balasubramanian Prasanna

dars.explore said...

Robotics have been used to help the disabled for quite some time and in this post, the use of the assistive robotic manipulator is a step in the right direction.It is able to help the disabled do simple things like opening doors and its a great thing for them.Therefore, by using robots we can greatly change the lives of the disabled.

Prakash S/O Yanaprakasam