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Robotics project aims to help people with disabilities

Posted: 26 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:robotics project? people with disabilities? visual tracking?

Scientists from the Intelligent Systems Research Centre at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and the Indian Institute of Technology are developing intelligent robotics devices that would help people with severe disabilities attain greater independence.

The three-year $300,000 project is jointly founded by the India and U.K. governments under the U.K.-India Education and Research Initiative.

As part of the project, the scientists would work on a brain-computer interface that allows a disabled person to control a smart wheelchair and robotic manipulator combination by thinking. They also plan on developing a visual tracking system for operating the wheelchair as an automated guided vehicle to provide mobility and a robotic arm for the natural execution of actions desired by the disabled user.

"Thousands of people suffering from neuro-muscular disabilities such as motor neurone disease and spinal cord injury may be completely paralyzed," explained project leader Girijesh Prasad. "While these people have all their senses intact to see, feel and dream, they may have no means of communicating with the external world at all. In order to provide greater independence to such people, the project aims to investigate intelligent systems that facilitate development of a low-cost assistive robotic device."

- Anne-Francoise Pele
EE Times Europe

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