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Now, Wheelchair Users Can Open Door Using Robotic Arm

by Aruna on  November 27, 2009 at 9:39 AM News on IT in Healthcare   - G J E 4
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Now, Wheelchair Users Can Open Door Using Robotic Arm
Reports say scientists have developed a robotic arm for the special purpose of helping wheelchair users open a door.

Erin Rapacki, Anybots in Mountain View, California, came up with the low-cost gripper that she presented at a recent IEEE robotics conference in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Rapacki created the 2000-dollar Dora keeping in mind that wheelchair users are often unable to reach and turn handles, reports New Scientist.

She considered a variety of designs of door knobs and handles that a door-opening robot must be able to grasp and calculated "how much force is needed to open the door, the twisting angles to unlatch the door, and how much force is needed to unlatch it."

As a student project at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, she and her colleagues designed the robotic arm that can open doors with 14 different handles in 85 per cent of tests involving pushing the door and 65 per cent of pulling tests.

Ted Kochanski, an engineering consultant based in Lexington, Massachusetts said the results were "very impressive," and that the addition of more electronic sensors and actuators would help improve performance and trim costs.

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