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Robotic Systems Help People With Disabilities

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Photo of person with disabilities piloting a robotic mobility and manipulation system in kitchen.

With the help of a remote human assistant, a person with disabilities pilots a robotic mobility and manipulation system, and opens a refrigerator door to retrieve a pre-prepared meal from home. Cooperative control leaves people with disabilities in command, and the ability to use the capabilities of both the local pilot and remote human assistant enable safe, effective and efficient operation of the robotic system in natural environments.

Credit: Rory Cooper, Department of Veterans Affairs and University of Pittsburgh


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Photo of a remote human assistant viewing scene's from pilot's location while working with the pilot

A remote human assistant views scenes from a pilot's location in real-time, while working cooperatively with the pilot--a person with a disability--to control dual robotic manipulators. The remote human assistant and the local pilot work cooperatively to use the robotic system to perform a series of functional tasks directed by the pilot. The remote human assistant operates haptic robotic devices to control the arms on the pilot's robotic system. The haptic arms provide the remote human assistant feedback and prevent the assistant from intruding on the pilot's personal space.

Credit: Rory Cooper, Department of Veterans Affairs and University of Pittsburgh


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Computer simulation of a disabled person piloting the robotic mobility and manipulation system.

Computer simulation of a person with a disability piloting the robotic mobility and manipulation system to open a refrigerator door and retrieve a pre-prepared meal in a home.

Credit: Rory Cooper, Department of Veterans Affairs and University of Pittsburgh


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Photo showing a close-up view of the carriage and track system on a wheelchair.

Close-up view of the carriage and track system on a wheelchair. The system allows robotic arms to be repositioned around a user's seat, providing flexible operation and task management. This approach makes it easier to perform a variety of bi-manual tasks, and also to move the arm behind the wheelchair in order to make the Personal Mobility & Manipulation Appliance (PerMMA) narrower for passing through doorways.

Credit: Rory Cooper, Department of Veterans Affairs/University of Pittsburgh


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