Assistive arm and hand manipulation: How does current research intersect with actual healthcare needs?

by   Laura Petrich, et al.

Human assistive robotics have the potential to help the elderly and individuals living with disabilities with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Robotics researchers present bottom up solutions using various control methods for different types of movements. Health research on the other hand focuses on clinical assessment and rehabilitation leaving arguably important differences between the two domains. In particular, little is known quantitatively on what ADLs humans perform in their everyday environment - at home, work etc. This information can help guide development and prioritization of robotic technology for in-home assistive robotic deployment. This study targets several lifelogging databases, where we compute (i) ADL task frequency from long-term low sampling frequency video and Internet of Things (IoT) sensor data, and (ii) short term arm and hand movement data from 30 fps video data of domestic tasks. Robotics and health care communities have different terms and taxonomies for representing tasks and motions. We derive and discuss a robotics-relevant taxonomy from this quantitative ADL task and ICF motion data in attempt to ameliorate these taxonomic differences. Our statistics quantify that humans reach, open drawers, doors, and retrieve and use objects hundreds of times a day. Commercial wheelchair mounted robot arms can help 150,000 upper body disabled in the USA alone, but only a few hundred robots are deployed. Better user interfaces, and more capable robots can increase the potential user base and number of ADL tasks solved significantly.


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