I am excited to announce that my project at the Columbia Robotics Lab received the honor of Distinguished Recognition at the Cornell Cup USA 2012-13 Presented by Intel. The national competition took place in Walt Disney World from May 3-4, where the top 30 Finalists presented their projects at the national expo. My team’s project was featured on Engadget, The Huffington Post, Willow Garage, and Columbia Spectator .
My team’s goal was to build a low-cost, brain-controlled, and safe/compliant assistive robotic arm/mobile manipulator for people with severe full-body disabilities. At the national expo, judges, students, and other visitors were thrilled by the arm — it held up mechanically, and it was simple for everyone from children to judges to learn in only a few minutes how to manipulate the arm using our Emotiv EPOC headset.
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.