One of UTARI’s major research areas is assistive robotics. The goal of this area is to enable robots and devices to assist people and improve human performance in daily activities. We are focusing on populations with special needs, including those with physical disabilities and injuries and those that require rehabilitation and care management. Additional specific topics of interest include automated manipulation systems, therapy games, inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workforce and society, elderly care, design of new sensors, mobility aids for locomotion and navigation, and human-robot interaction control and safety.
Humanoid Robots for Diagnosis and Treatment of Autism
Supported by the Texas Medical Research Collaborative and a National Science Foundation grant, UTARI is developing a Human-Robot Interaction System for Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The research focuses on treating cognitive impairments in children suffering from ASD with the use of the robot Zeno, a robotic platform developed by Hanson RoboKind. Discussions are also underway with Catholic Charities Fort Worth, involving the use of Zeno to aid abused children.
3D Point-of-Gaze Tracking Headset
We are developing an advanced human-computer interface that uses eye gaze to provide an eﬀective means of control over existing robotic platforms, such as wheelchairs and manipulators, for users with severe physical impairments.
As part of our assistive robotics research and development, UTARI is working to develop smart homes for wounded warriors and people with a wide range of disabilities. Researchers are focused on the advancement and implementation of affordable state-of-the-art technology solutions to assist disabled or injured people with independent living.
Robotic Nursing Assistant (RNA)
UTARI is collaborating with RE2 Inc., a Pittsburgh-based robotics firm, to advance the capabilities of their robotic nursing assistant. We envision developing this platform into a semi-autonomous system within the next year. UTARI will develop smart skin with multi-modal sensing capabilities to be used as a force multiplier to assist a nurse in coordinating the transport of patients. This technology will also be valuable for the safety of humans working around heavy manufacturing robots.
Advanced Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI) and Reinforcement Learning
QinetiQ North America (QNA) is sponsoring the development of new technology to enhance the usability of human-machine interfaces for QNA’s next generation assistive and service robots. The project aims to expand the use of QNA robotic platforms, in particular the Dragon Runner 20™ and the Talon platforms, by integrating additional sensing, control, and communication capabilities, and by expanding the network of users and application developers.