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Design and Development of Assistive Robots for Close Interaction with People with Disabilities

Grindle, Garrett George (2017) Design and Development of Assistive Robots for Close Interaction with People with Disabilities. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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People with mobility and manipulation impairments wish to live and perform tasks as independently as possible; however, for many tasks, compensatory technology does not exist, to do so. Assistive robots have the potential to address this need. This work describes various aspects of the development of three novel assistive robots: the Personal Mobility and Manipulation Appliance (PerMMA), the Robotic Assisted Transfer Device (RATD), and the Mobility Enhancement Robotic Wheelchair (MEBot). PerMMA integrates mobility with advanced bi-manual manipulation to assist people with both upper and lower extremity impairments. The RATD is a wheelchair mounted robotic arm that can lift higher payloads and its primary aim is to assist caregivers of people who cannot independently transfer from their electric powered wheelchair to other surfaces such as a shower bench or toilet. MEBot is a wheeled robot that has highly reconfigurable kinematics, which allow it to negotiate challenging terrain, such as steep ramps, gravel, or stairs. A risk analysis was performed on all three robots which included a Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) and a Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) to identify potential risks and inform strategies to mitigate them. Identified risks or PerMMA include dropping sharp or hot objects. Critical risks identified for RATD included tip over, crush hazard, and getting stranded mid-transfer, and risks for MEBot include getting stranded on obstacles and tip over. Lastly, several critical factors, such as early involvement of people with disabilities, to guide future assistive robot design are presented.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Grindle, Garrett Georgeggg3@pitt.eduGGG3
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCooper, Rory
Committee MemberDan,
Committee MemberSchmeler, Mark
Committee MemberSchneider, Urs
Date: 11 September 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 24 July 2017
Approval Date: 11 September 2017
Submission Date: 29 August 2017
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 156
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Assistive Robots, Wheelchairs, People with Disabilities, Risk Analysis
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2017 15:16
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2018 05:15


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