Robotics research lab and technology incubator Willow Garage has joined the Healthcare Robotics Group in Geogia Tech to foster a program called ‘Robots for Humanity’. The project hopes allow robots to help human being with day to day activities, specially people who suffer from disabilities and are unable to take care of themselves.
The ‘Healthcare Robotics Lab’s Assistive Mobile Manipulation for Older Adults at Home’ project essentially focuses on making and using machines that help senior citizens at home.
Take for instance the case of Henry Evans, who suffered a brain stem stroke at 40 and has been paralyzed since then. Years of therapy have made him able to move his head and lift a finger. Now a computer controlled PR2 robot allows him to scratch an itch, shave himself and navigate to and manipulate objects.
Robots for Humanity - Henry Evans
The robot uses a Kinect motion tracking sensor system from Microsoft that can monitor the head movements that Henry Evans makes. This allows him to get the PR2 robot to do what he wishes. As per Willow Garage chief executive officer Steve Cousins they were currently exploring ways for Henry to use a PR2 robot as his surrogate.
Robots are sure to have a great impact on the managed health care sector and Willow Garage along with Healthcare Robotics wishes to make that day come sooner.