University of Central Florida (UCF) researchers have developed a computer-aided robotic arm which assists the physically challenged people to carry out actions like gripping and lifting various objects. It has both manual and automatic modes of operation.
When a selected group of people with disabilities were made to examine the robotic arm, most of them surprised the researchers by favoring the manual mode. The manual mode required them to think in advance regarding various steps, made them to direct the robotic arm either verbally or by physically typing the directions and did not effectively perform tasks. In spite of these disadvantages they preferred the manual mode of operation.
Aman Behal, Assistant Professor of UCF expressed that they had worked so much on developing this accurate technology and said that they had not expected such a response from the users.
John Bricout, Behal’s partner at the Texas University has stated that as per the psychological theory of flow, people wanted to be engaged, but not to be besieged by technology. He added that highly challenging tasks will develop frustration in people whereas people will get bored if they are not challenged enough. He further mentioned that disabled people have the same attributes as others.
Behal is now intending to develop a hybrid mode for the robotic arm, which is more effective than the manual mode and more communicative than the automatic mode. The subsequent version of the robotic arm will also feature changeable degrees of automation, thereby enabling it to cope with the capabilities of the individual users.