I am pleased to announce that my team at the Columbia Robotics Lab was recently named a Finalist in the 2012-2013 Cornell Cup USA Presented by Intel. Since March 2012, I have been working in Professor Peter Allen’s Robotics Lab on a brain-controlled mobile manipulator project for people with full-body disabilities, part of a five-year National Science Foundation grant project in assistive robotics. Our current research proposal was named a Finalist for the Cornell Cup — myself and my teammates will represent Columbia University at the national competition in Walt Disney World this spring!
Here’s the abstract:
There is an increasing demand for robots in the home – especially for people who require assistance with activities of daily living. Unfortunately, most assistive robotic arms on the market are beyond the budget of those who require their assistance. Our aim is to design a relatively inexpensive, human friendly wheelchair mounted robotic arm (WMRA).
The proposed WMRA will make use of series elastic actuators and will require the design of a control system that will allow it to “feel” around its environment without the need for vision. The series elastic actuators will provide compliance at the joints for safety and will be combined with potentiometers to convert angular displacement into torque feedback at each joint. To facilitate the assistance provided by the manipulator a non-invasive brain computer interface (BCI) will allow users to plan manipulation of objects. Additionally, the team hopes to make the physical design of the WMRA as open-source as possible, which will allow other universities and individuals to download the design and improve the capabilities of the arm.