A study on wearable robotics - Comfort is in the context

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Conference Proceeding
2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics, ROBIO 2011, 2011, pp. 2969 - 2974
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WITU (Wearable Indoor Tracking Unit) is a wearable robotic device that aids indoor navigation by building maps and localizing the user within them. Applications of such a device include search and rescue, travel aid in large and complex buildings, museum guides among others where external localization information such as from a GPS is not available. However, WITU relies on human intelligence both to maintain long term consistency of its location estimates and to efficiently manage its limited memory and processing capacity. This alludes to a symbiotic relationship between the user and the device and here we look at this symbiotic relationship from an end user perspective. Thus, in order to have a successful interaction, we argue that the user needs to feel comfortable wearing the device while carrying out the intended tasks. We hypothesize that this perceived comfort is dependent on the context in which the device is used. We test our hypothesis on three different scenarios; search and rescue worker, dementia patient in a long care facility and a person at a party which acts as the baseline. Results indicate an important consequence for the development of such wearable robotic systems. © 2011 IEEE.
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