NCCR Robotics is a consortium of robotics laboratories across Switzerland, working on robots for improving the quality of life and to strengthen robotics in Switzerland and worldwide. Newsletter
Our partner institutions currently offer two courses that have a strong focus on robotics at the master level, although it is worth noting that students with a wide variety of… Read more
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For people with severe physical disabilities, low resolution input devices, such as buttons, sip and puff switches and brain–computer interfaces provide an opportunity to interact with the world. However, it can be difficult to control assistive technology, such as wheelchairs, tele–presence robots and robotic arms, when you have only a limited number of commands available and/or a lack of temporal precision in issuing such commands. These limitations can be overcome by employing shared control techniques, whereby the system assists the user in performing the desired task. In this study we compare the use of a simple discrete shared control policy with a more dynamic proportional shared control policy. We evaluate both approaches on a wheelchair that is only operated by two temporally– constrained discrete buttons. The experiments were performed in two different realistic indoor scenarios: an open–plan, spacious environment and a smaller, more cluttered ofﬁce environment. A total of 10 healthy participants took part in this study.
The prospect of controlling devices merely by the power of one’s thoughts is compelling, especially for assistive technology applications. In the accompanying video, we show how we have strived to push brain–computer interface (BCI) technology out of the lab and into the real world, while simultaneously moving away from testing solely with healthy subjects to undertaking trials with patients and potential end–users. We describe the evolution of the motor imagery based BCI, which has resulted in a major milestone: the first patient trial of a motor imagery based BCI controlled wheelchair.