[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: People with physical disabilities have ranked object retrieval as a high-priority task for assistive robots. We have developed Dusty, a teleoperated mobile manipulator that fetches objects from the floor and delivers them to users at a comfortable height. In this paper, we first demonstrate the robot's high success rate (98.4%) when autonomously grasping 25 objects considered being important by people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We tested the robot with each object in five different configurations on five types of flooring. We then present the results of an experiment in which 20 people with ALS operated Dusty. Participants teleoperated Dusty to move around an obstacle, pick up an object and deliver the object to themselves. They successfully completed this task in 59 out of 60 trials (3 trials each) with a mean completion time of 61.4 SD = 20.5 seconds), and reported high overall satisfaction using Dusty (7-point Likert scale; 6.8 SD = 0.6). Participants rated Dusty to be significantly easier to use than their own hands, asking family members, and using mechanical reachers (p < 0.03, paired t-tests). Fourteen of the 20 participants reported that they would prefer using Dusty over their current methods. [Box: see text].
Disability and rehabilitation. Assistive technology 03/2012; 7(2):168-79.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: By initiating physical contact with people, robots can be more useful. For example, a robotic caregiver might make contact to provide physical assistance or facilitate communication. So as to better understand how people respond to robot-initiated touch, we conducted a 2x2 between-subjects experiment with 56 people in which a robotic nurse autonomously touched and wiped the subject's forearm. Our independent variables were whether or not the robot verbally warned the person before contact, and whether the robot verbally indicated that the touch was intended to clean the person's skin (instrumental touch) or to provide comfort (affective touch). On average, regardless of the treatment, participants had a generally positive subjective response. However, with instrumental touch people responded significantly more favorably. Since the physical behavior of the robot was the same for all trials, our results demonstrate that the perceived intent of the robot can significantly influence a person's subjective response to robot-initiated touch. Our results suggest that roboticists should consider this factor in addition to the mechanics of physical interaction. Unexpectedly, we found that participants tended to respond more favorably without a verbal warning. Although inconclusive, our results suggest that verbal warnings prior to contact should be carefully designed, if used at all.
Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Human Robot Interaction, HRI 2011, Lausanne, Switzerland, March 6-9, 2011; 01/2011
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: People often use direct physical contact to guide a person to a desired location (e.g., leading a child by the hand) or to adjust a person's posture for a task (e.g., a dance instructor working with a dancer). When a user is in close proximity to a robot, physical contact becomes a potentially valuable channel for communication. We define a direct physical interface (DPI) as an interface that enables a user to influence a robot's behavior by making contact with its body. We evaluated a DPI in a controlled laboratory setting with 18 nurses and compared its performance with that of a comparable gamepad interface. The DPI significantly outperformed the gamepad according to several objective and subjective measures. Nurses also tended to exert more force at the robot's end-effectors and command higher velocities when using the DPI to perform a navigation task compared with using the DPI to perform a positioning task. Based on user surveys, we identify various nursing tasks where robotic assistance may be useful and provide design recommendations specifically in the area of healthcare.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Physical human-robot interaction has the potential to be useful in a number of domains, but this will depend on how people respond to the robot’s actions. For some domains, such as healthcare, a robot is likely to initiate physical contact with a person’s body. In order to investigate how people respond to this type of interaction, we conducted an experiment with 56 people in which a robotic nurse autonomously touched and wiped each participant’s forearm. On average, participants had a favorable response to the first time the robot touched them. However, we found that the perceived intent of the robot significantly influenced people’s responses. If people believed that the robot intended to clean their arms, the participants tended to respond more favorably than if they believed the robot intended to comfort them, even though the robot’s manipulation behavior was the same. Our results suggest that roboticists should consider this social factor in addition to the mechanics of physical interaction. Surprisingly, we found that participants in our study responded less favorably when given a verbal warning prior to the robot’s actions. In addition to these main results, we present post-hoc analyses of participants’ galvanic skin responses (GSR), open-ended responses, attitudes towards robots, and responses to a second trial.