People with motor impairment can sometimes find it hard to take care of themselves. This means that in some instances, they might need to hire a healthcare professional to take care of them. However it seems that researchers at Georgia Tech might have figured out a way that could allow those with motor impairment to take care of themselves, and that is through the use of robots.
Dubbed the PR2 mobile manipulator, this is a robot manufactured by Willow Garage that comes with wheels, two arms, and a head, where it is also capable of manipulating objects such as water bottles, washcloths, hairbrushes, and even shavers. It can also be controlled using eye tracking or head tracking.
According to Henry Evans who helped test the robot and worked with the team during its development, he felt very liberated using the robot as it allowed him to take care of himself. “The system was very liberating to me, in that it enabled me to independently manipulate my environment for the first time since my stroke.”
However at the moment, the robot is still too big and too expensive to be made commercial available, but that’s to be expected as we imagine that over time, these kind of issues like size and cost could be improved upon.
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