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Robotics Hardware Science

Robot Helps Quadriplegic Scratch an Itch 27

Posted by Soulskill
from the scratch-all-humans dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Georgia Tech's Healthcare Robotics Lab and Willow Garage have been collaborating with Henry Evans, who became a mute quadriplegic after suffering a stroke 10 years ago, to use a PR2 robot as his surrogate. The robot is allowing him to do things like shave himself and scratch itches when he has them, things for which he's been dependent on other people. Henry uses a head tracker to directly move the robot's body, including its arms and head, or invoke autonomous actions, such as navigating in a room or fetching objects. The researchers hope personal robots will allow people with severe physical disabilities to live better and gain more independence."
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Robot Helps Quadriplegic Scratch an Itch

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  • watch the video (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @07:57PM (#36789546)
    you gotta watch the video. You've probably never seen a man so happy to put a razor to his face.
  • not only ya, but Hell fucking ya, stuff like this is one of the reasons i love technology
    • by timeOday (582209)
      I felt the same way when Leroy Petry, who just received the medal of honor, was showing off his artificial hand [msn.com] in an NBC Nightly News segment a night or two ago (couldn't find the video online). He said it learned to control its grasp in about 15 minutes because it uses the same nerves his hand did. And yes, it would be better if he didn't need it, it's not as good as the real thing, etc., but it sure is cool to see such futuristic technology make a difference in the real world!
      • Unfortunately, it's too expensive, so he just had a loaner. He had to return it the following morning and get the usual hooks with rubber bands controlled by shifting your shoulder to grab things.

      • yea I saw him on the Daily show, I can't believe he Deployed again after all that shit went down.
  • R2 unit (Score:4, Funny)

    by mutherhacker (638199) on Saturday July 16, 2011 @08:18PM (#36789662)

    Ever since PR2 came out, the standard R2 units just aren't in demand anymore.

  • First with obligatory fapbot comment. Fapbot 2.0 - now gets you off twice as fast!
  • The undertitle should have been "from the a-little-to-the-left dept."
  • A good first step. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VortexCortex (1117377) <(VortexCortex) ( ... -retrograde.com)> on Saturday July 16, 2011 @11:45PM (#36790588)

    However useful helper bots may be, clearly you can see that the technology must eventually be -inside- the quadriplegics or otherwise severely injured individuals.

    I mean, it's great to have a robot you can use to help take care of yourself, but wouldn't it be better to just be able to take care of yourself sans robot assistant?

    I find it very interesting and just a bit ironic that in nearly all the science fiction works the cyborgs are less "human", whereas in reality cybernetics enable those with disabilities to be more human, and lead lives that are more normal.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I find it very interesting and just a bit ironic that in nearly all the science fiction works the cyborgs are less "human", whereas in reality cybernetics enable those with disabilities to be more human, and lead lives that are more normal.

      I find it very interesting that you seem to believe that people leading less normal lives are less human. I guess people really ARE prejudiced against the crippled... or anything not like them.

      • Congratulations for twisting a positive into a negative whilst implying prejudice that really doesn't seem to be there.
      • by bgat (123664)

        I totally get (and agree with) your point about the subtle prejudice in his posting, but it isn't clear to me if that was his intent.

        In SciFi, humans that have been augmented with electromechanical devices tend to lose some of their "humanity", at least as a plot element. Think Darth Vader here.

        Real-life "cyborgs", if you want to call them that, aim to be indistinguishable from non-augmented human beings. Think Luke Skywalker here, at least from Episode V/Empire Strikes Back onwards.

        Actually, modern "cybo

    • by bgat (123664)

      There are two distinct types of problems that need to be solved. The first is, how to design a robot that can understand what the patient is asking for--- and can do that. Solutions to those problems are currently external to the patient now because that's the easiest place to do the research.

      The second problem is, how to figure out what the patient is asking the robot to do. Solutions to those problems are currently external to the patient now because that's the easiest place to do the research.

      See a p

    • I'm not sure, having a robot assistant has a certain stature associated with it. I'm still waiting for the robot overlords, though.
  • by MrL0G1C (867445)
    ZZZzzzz... Wake me up when a quadriplegic helps a robot scratch an itch...zzzzzzzz
  • ... I welcome our itch-scratching [cnet.com] robot overlords.

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