One touch directs a robotic arm to grab objects in a new computer program designed to give people in wheelchairs more independence.
University of Central Florida researchers thought the ease of the using the program's automatic mode would be a huge hit. But they were wrong – many participants in a pilot study didn't like it because it was "too easy."
Most participants preferred the manual mode, which requires them to think several steps ahead and either physically type in instructions or verbally direct the arm with a series of precise commands. They favored the manual mode even though they did not perform tasks as well with it.
"We focused so much on getting the technology right," said Assistant Professor Aman Behal. "We didn't expect this."
John Bricout, Behal's collaborator and the associate dean for Research and Community Outreach at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work, said the study demonstrates how people want to be engaged -- but not overwhelmed -- by technology. The psychology theory of Flow describes this need to have a balance between challenge and capacity in life.
"If we're too challenged, we get angry and frustrated. But if we aren't challenged enough, we get bored," said Bricout, who has conducted extensive research on adapting technology for users with disabilities. "We all experience that. People with disabilities are no different."
The computer program is based on how the human eye sees. A touch screen, computer mouse, joystick or voice command sends the arm into action. Then sensors mounted on the arm see an object, gather information and relay it to the computer, which completes the calculations necessary to move the arm and retrieve the object.Behal is seeking grants to translate the study's findings into a smoother "hybrid" mode that is more interactive and challenging for users and features a more accurate robotic arm. Laser, ultrasound and infrared technology coupled with an adaptive interface will help him achieve his goals.
Bob Melia, a quadriplegic who advised the UCF team, says the new technology will make life easier for thousands of people who are so dependent on others because of physical limitations.
"You have no idea what it is like to want to do something as simple as scratching your nose and have to rely on someone else to do it for you," Melia said. "I see this device as someday giving people more freedom to do a lot more things, from getting their own bowl of cereal in the morning to scratching their nose anytime they want."
Behal's initial research was funded with a grant from the National Science Foundation and through a pilot grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Behal presented his findings at the 2010 International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Anchorage, Alaska.
Behal is collaborating with Bricout, who previously worked in the College of Health and Public Affairs at UCF, to apply for another grant in the area of assistive technology.
The research team includes Dae-Jin Kim, Zhao Wang, and Rebekah Hazlett from UCF, John Bricout from UT Arlington, and Heather Godfrey, Greta Rucks, David Portee and Tara Cunningham from Orlando Health Rehabilitation Institute. The institute helped recruit patients for the study.
A UCF faculty member since 2006, Behal has a joint appointment in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the NanoScience Technology Center. He received his master's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, India, and a Ph.D. from Clemson University in South Carolina.
UCF Stands For Opportunity --The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 3rd largest in the nation with more than 56,000 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information visit http://news.ucf.edu
Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala | EurekAlert!
Silicon solar cell of ISFH yields 25% efficiency with passivating POLO contacts
08.12.2016 | Institut für Solarenergieforschung GmbH
Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer IFAM
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine