Robotic arms are much harder to control than powered wheelchairs. This is because the space of what needs to be controlled is higher dimensional (6-D) than what needs to be controlled for a powered wheelchair (2-D). Standard joysticks are only 2-D, and so to operate such a complex machine like a robotic arm even with standard joysticks already is a challenge.
For more limited control interfaces, like a switch-based head array or sip-and-puff, operating the robotic arm is too difficult to be practical.
To make the robotic arm easier to control, we introduce autonomy---so that the robotic arm can partly control itself. The bulk of our research investigates how the autonomy should share control with the human when providing assistance.
While assistive devices like powered wheelchairs have greatly enhanced the quality of life for many, caregivers are still relied on for physical manipulation tasks like meal preparation or personal hygiene.
Assistive robotic arms hold great promise in these domains, but they can be difficult to control.
Our goal in this work is to make assistive robotic arms easily operable, using even limited control interfaces like the sip-and-puff, by introducing robotics autonomy.