Human-Robot Coexistence

Various kinds of robots will be used in environment coexisting with humans. These robot will be invaluably useful assistants and companions for humankind in several occasions, activities and environment.

Personal Robotic Assistants For The Elderly (Nursebot)
Mobile robotic assistant, developed to assist elderly individuals with mild cognitive and physical impairments, as well as support nurses in their daily activities.
The robot provides a research platform to test out a range of ideas for assisting elderly people, such as Intelligent reminding, Mobile manipulation, Telepresence, Data collection and surveillance, and Social interaction.

Edutainment Robotics
"We are creating a new industry out of electronic dogs and cats, and toys that can serve both as a technology playground and, potentially, as a platform for consumer electronics. Entertainment Robots offer a proving ground where engineers in software, computers, sensors, communication - all things electrical and mechanical - can test, develop and apply their latest technology" (Toshi Doi, Vice President of Sony Corp)
Researchers think that Entertainment, more generally, Edutainment Robotics, should be considered as the field where the most advanced ideas in robotics will be tested and put to operation. They expect that leading technology will emerge here that will later transfer to other application areas of robotics.

Biomedical Robotics
Significant advances has been made in medical robotics. The number of robot-assisted surgeries is on the rise, with more and more robot equipment and procedures receiving regulatory approval and progressing from clinical trials to standard hospital fixtures.
Main application fields are:

  • Surgical Robotics
  • Robotics for Diagnosis
  • Virtual Environments Based Surgical Simulators
  • Tactile Sensing and Stimulation
  • Bilateral Teleoperation
  • Haptic Training

"Biomedical Robotics poses new and exciting problems for theory and technology to Robotics and to many other disciplines. Biomedical Robots are expected to be very important for better quality of health care and life for citizens, and they have strong potential for the development of a new and solid industry.
Biomedical Robotics includes the "medical" applications of robotics and mechatronics, such as in surgery, endoscopy, rehabilitation, assistance to the disabled and the elderly, and prosthetics, as well as research and application in more speculative areas, such as the modeling and replication if biological systems."
From: ARTS-Lab, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy

"Bio-robotics is our non-official term for robots with biologically inspired designs and/or biology-related applications, for example bipedal walking machines and robotic arms for rehabilitation. With the term bio-robotics we want to oppose conventional industrial robotics, which often heavily relies on control algorithms, stiff and heavy structures, and high-power actuators. We believe that the challenge of robotics of the future lies in safe human-robot interaction. This implies a totally different set of design requirements than for robots for the structured factory environment. Not necessarily high speeds and position accuracy, but rather sensitivity ("tenderness") and compliance. Such requirements motivate us to study biology, not only as the environment that the robot must interact with, but also as a source of design inspiration. Are not the autonomous systems of mother nature the best designs ever?"
From: Delft Bio-robotics Laboratory

Robotics in Humanitarian Demining
"Robotics solutions properly sized with suitable modularised mechanized structure and well adapted to local conditions of minefields can greatly improve the safety of personnel as well as work efficiency, productivity and flexibility. Solving this problem presents challenges in robotic mechanics and mobility, sensors and sensor fusion, autonomous or semi autonomous navigation and machine intelligence. Furthermore, the use of many robots working and coordinating their movements will improve the productivity of overall mine detection processes through the use of team cooperation and coordination"
From: IARP Workshop on The State of the Art of Robotics in Humanitarian Demining
within the Framework of the IEEE ICRA2003, September 15th 2003, Taiwan

Robotics for the Earth/Environment

Edited by Fiorella Operto

Draft 5th Jan '04