In this paper we present a prototype integrated robotic system, the I-Support bathing robot, that aims at supporting new aspects of assisted daily-living activities on a real-life scenario. The paper focuses on describing and evaluating key novel technological features of the system, with the emphasis on cognitive human–robot interaction modules and their evaluation through a series of clinical validation studies. The I-Support project on its whole has envisioned the development of an innovative, modular, ICT-supported service robotic system that assists frail seniors to safely and independently complete an entire sequence of physically and cognitively demanding bathing tasks, such as properly washing their back and their lower limbs. A variety of innovative technologies have been researched and a set of advanced modules of sensing, cognition, actuation and control have been developed and seamlessly integrated to enable the system to adapt to the target population abilities. These technologies include: human activity monitoring and recognition, adaptation of a motorized chair for safe transfer of the elderly in and out the bathing cabin, a context awareness system that provides full environmental awareness, as well as a prototype soft robotic arm and a set of user-adaptive robot motion planning and control algorithms. This paper focuses in particular on the multimodal action recognition system, developed to monitor, analyze and predict user actions with a high level of accuracy and detail in real-time, which are then interpreted as robotic tasks. In the same framework, the analysis of human actions that have become available through the project's multimodal audio–gestural dataset, has led to the successful modeling of Human–Robot Communication, achieving an effective and natural interaction between users and the assistive robotic platform. In order to evaluate the I-Support system, two multinational validation studies were conducted under realistic operating conditions in two clinical pilot sites. Some of the findings of these studies are presented and analyzed in the paper, showing good results in terms of: (i) high acceptability regarding the system usability by this particularly challenging target group, the elderly end-users, and (ii) overall task effectiveness of the system in different operating modes.
|Titolo:||I-Support: A robotic platform of an assistive bathing robot for the elderly population|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2020|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo su Rivista/Article|