Robotic Assistance with Attitude: a Mobility Agent for Motor Function Rehabilitation and Ambulation Support

Publisher:
IEEE
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
IEEE 11th International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR 2009), 2009, pp. 529 - 534
Issue Date:
2009-01
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This paper presents the design of an intelligent walking aid for the frail and elderly as well as for patients who are recovering from surgical procedures, in order to enhance safer mobility for these study populations. The device augments a conventional rolling walker aid with sensing and navigational abilities to safely travel through an environment following user's perceived intentions, unless collisions or instability is imminent. The agent, embodied as a partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP), critically relies on minimal user input to seamlessly recognise user's short-term intended behaviour, constantly updating this projection to allow for inconspicuous user-robot integration. This, in turn, shifts user's focus from fine motor-skilled control to coarse indications broadly intended to convey intention. Overall, the system can afford an increase in safety for the cognitive user through preventative care - reduced number of falls or collision with surrounding objects, minimising health-care expenses as well as increasing independent living for people with gait disorders. Successful simulation and experimental results demonstrate the validity of the proposed architecture for a practical robotic rollator design.
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