The Useworthiness of Robots for People with Physical Disabilities


Håkan Eftring

This thesis deals with robotics and the new possibilities it offers people with physical disabilities. I focus on the user and the use of the technology and, in particular, on what makes robotic aids worth using - useworthiness as distinguished from usability.

Experience of the useworthiness of robots was first obtained through the development of page-turning end-effectors for the RAID workstation. The principles of separating pages and the page-turning movements are analyzed and described in this thesis. User experience of the wheelchair-mounted Manus manipulator shows that robotic arms must meet technical requirements in terms of acceleration, speed and pattern of movement.

The thesis demonstrates that user trials with robots as assistive devices can result in new knowledge about both the use of the technology itself and the personal characteristics - needs, abilities, wishes and dreams - of the user.

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. Rehabilitation Robotics
3. Useworthiness
4. Development of the RAID Workstation
5. User Trials of the Manus Manipulator
6. In-depth Interview with a Manus User
7. Simplified Use of Directly Contolled Robots
8. Ethical Issues
9. Discussion and Conclusions

Cover of "The Useworthiness of Robots for People with Physical Disabilities".

Complete dissertation

PDFPDF-format (1.24 Mb)

RAID Movie Clips  Short clips illustrating the motions of the RAID robot.

Last modified: 10-01-07