The NIH has funded three projects aimed at creating new robotic devices to assist people with disabilities.
Credit: Left: A robotic ankle exoskeleton. Image courtesy of Steven Collins, Carnegie Mellon University. Right: A robotic cane protoype. Image courtesy of Cang Ye, Ph.D., University of Arkansas at Little Rocky
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $2.4 million to three projects, over the next five years, aimed at creating new robotic devices to assist people with disabilities.
One project, to be undertaken at the University of Arkansas, aims to make a robotic cane for the visually impaired. The cane would be able to use computer vision to recognize doors, stairways and obstacles, and convey this information to the user, according to the NIH. [The 5 Coolest Robots]
Another project at North Carolina State University aims to develop better control systems for "wearable robots." The project will test various control methods for a "robotic ankle exoskeleton," which acts like a powered brace to help people move if they have impaired strength or coordination. The device used in this project is intended to help patients recovering from stroke.
A third project aims to make a robotic catheter device that can help improve a procedure already used to treat irregular heartbeats.