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A Robotic Aid to Independent Living

Objective

To develop a unique, low-cost robotic system, RAIL, capable of contributing to the health, care and well-being of people with special needs and the elderly. Development of the RAIL system will add strength to the scientific basis for competitiveness of the European health industry.

Throughout the European Community today, demand for service robots such as RAIL, is increasing, due to changing age structures. At the present time, about 10-14% of the population consists of people with special needs, who are being served by ever fewer able-bodied people. The completed RAIL system will be a powerful tool, enabling people with special needs the opportunity to do many things which at present, are thought to be impossible. Such freedom will include eating, drinking, teeth cleaning, shaving, applying make-up, playing games and painting and drawing.

In order to achieve these advances, the current "Handy 1" system will need to be redesigned, to include the following technical developments: Inclusion of positional sensors onto key elements of the robotic arm, together with a power-on calibration routine. Inclusion of a general purpose interface, to include LCD, voice recognition and speech generators. Design of aesthetically pleasing attachments to help achieve drinking, teeth cleaning, shaving, applying make-up, game playing and painting/drawing. Design and production of a special multi-purpose end-effector, which will cater for the pick up and put down requirements of the attachments.
Re-write of code in a high level language, probably "C", to facilitate software maintenance, debugging and future upgrading of the system.
Improvements to payload, accuracy, velocity and duty cycle of the robot. Design and production of a PCB control system to cater for the above specification. In brief, content of the proposal is as follows:

Analysis of user requirements will be carried outSensors will be fitted to the arm and all technical improvements implemented. Software will be written to operate the sensors and cater for technical improvements. Attachments will be designed and fitted to the system and software written to operate them. System evaluation studies will be conducted with ten end users.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Staffordshire University
Address
College Road
ST4 2DE Stoke-on-trent
United Kingdom

Participants (3)

Evangelische Stiftung Volmarstein
Germany
Address
40,Grundschötteler Straße 40
58300 Wetter - Ruhr
Lund University
Sweden
Address
1,Ole Roemers Vaeg 1
221 00 Lund
Rehab Robotics Ltd.
United Kingdom
Address
3-3,Keele University, Science Park
ST5 5BG Keele