Researchers at Carnegie Mellon university have developed a head-worn device to enable patients with motor impairments to perform daily tasks.
Approximately 5.4 million people globally are affected by some form of paralysis. Several medical and technological innovations have been introduced to solve this and other psychological disorders. Brain Machine Interface (BMI) or Brain Computer Interface (BCI) is one very promising solution among all which can enable the patient to perform a variety of day-to-day tasks, just by thinking of it.
New research from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute (RI) aims to increase autonomy for individuals with such motor impairments by introducing a head-worn device that will help them control a mobile manipulator. Teleoperated mobile manipulators can aid individuals in completing daily activities, but many existing technologies like hand-operated joysticks or web interfaces require a user to have substantial fine motor skills to effectively control them.
In his work, robotics Ph.D. student Akhil Padmanabha offers a new device equipped with a hands-free microphone and head-worn sensor that allows users to control a mobile robot via head motion and speech recognition. Head-Worn Assistive Teleoperation (HAT) requires fewer fine motor skills than other interfaces, offering an alternative for users who face constraints with technology currently on the market. The device consists of a novel assistive interface with inertial measurements integrated into an everyday clothing article. The interface enables teleoperation of a mobile manipulator using only residual head motion.
Researchers evaluated the interface with 16 healthy and 2 participants with motor impairments. In this study, participants both with and without motor impairments performed multiple household and self-care tasks with low error rates, minimal effort and a high perceived ease of use.
Reference : Akhil Padmanabha et al, HAT: Head-Worn Assistive Teleoperation of Mobile Manipulators, arXiv (2022). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2209.13097