Robot technology is getting used increasingly more in well being rehabilitation and in working life. Exoskeletons are one technology with nice potential. But this technology is commonly developed for the average particular person. So what about people who find themselves small and skinny, or tall and chubby?
The Norwegian aggressive athlete Birgit Skarstein is thought in Norway for her participation in an expedition for the Lars Monsen TV sequence “Uten Grenser” (a remake of BBC’s Beyond Boundaries). She is paralyzed from the waist down as the results of an accident. But just a few years in the past she walked onto the stage at the annual Sports Gala in Hamar.
An exoskeleton—a complicated robot technology—enabled this feat.
Exoskeletons are a kind of outer framework, a wearable robotic machine, which can be used each in rehabilitation and to facilitate work duties for individuals who have to do heavy lifting.
In rehabilitation, an exoskeleton can be utilized to assist the person rebuild their physique after an sickness or accident, equivalent to a spinal wire damage.
In work conditions, exoskeletons are used as a supportive technology to make the job easier or simpler and to advertise safer and extra right motion to stop accidents and accidents. In different phrases, it is a helpful, good technology.
But as of at present, this technology is primarily tailored for a western grownup human being of average top and weight—and thus removed from appropriate for everyone.
Clear objective for the analysis
The average exoskeleton can accommodate a most top of 190 cm and a weight restrict of 100 kg.
These parametres exclude many individuals from utilizing this technology, whether or not for rehabilitation or to carry out work duties.
Norway has one among the world’s tallest populations (approx. 180 cm for males, 168 cm for ladies). Indonesia has the shortest inhabitants in the world, with an average top of 157 cm. In international locations like Bangladesh and Madagascar, ladies’s average weight is 49 kg, whereas in the United States there are areas and states with many very chubby people. In Mississippi, for instance, 40 p.c of the inhabitants is chubby.
“Technology is often developed for the average adult male, and being overweight is particularly challenging,” says Roger A. Søraa. He research robotic technology and customers at the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture and the Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science at NTNU.
Søraa has a transparent objective for robotic technology analysis:
“We want to get exoskeleton designers to think more inclusively and develop robot technology that works for more people,” he says. “This is a glimpse into a future that we want to make inclusive. That includes adapting health technology that can contribute to a better life for the user to be more widely accessible.”
Together with researcher Eduard Fosch-Villaronga at Leiden University in the Netherlands, Søraa just lately printed the article: Exoskeletons for all: The interaction between exoskeletons, inclusion, gender, and intersectionality in Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics.
Not honest to finish customers
Søraa and Villaronga have investigated three of the largest exoskeleton producers and checked out their person standards: the US-based Ekso Bionics and Indego, and Cyberdyne from Japan.
The researchers level out in the research that robotic technology was traditionally thought to be a part of a male sphere, and the standards used to develop new technology mirror the biases that existed at the time. But these standards should not nonetheless be used at present.
“Exoskeleton users come in many different shapes, sizes and genders. However, designers tend to resort to the one-size-fits-all principle. From an investment point of view, this may be cost effective, but it does not do justice to end users who risk being excluded from accessing the technology,” the researchers stated.
Making the technology accessible
To make this technology accessible to all, the researchers are proposing some instruments for designers and producers to assist them grow to be extra inclusive.
- Make positive that exoskeletons can help each chubby and underweight individuals.
- Be conscious of the bodily variations between women and men.
- Make the exoskeleton as straightforward as doable to placed on, even for customers who lack higher physique power.
- Create buttons in several patterns in order that shade blind people can simply function them with out worry of urgent the fallacious button.
- Create buttons with completely different textures for the blind, and add auditory response sensors.
- Involve a various group of workers and customers in any respect ranges in the improvement—consider the finish person.
- Think about the significance of together with usually marginalized segments of society equivalent to LGBTQ (completely different sexual orientations). Not everyone has grandchildren who can “teach them how to use digital technology.”
Søraa has had analysis stays in each Japan and South Korea, and robotic technology is way extra widespread there than right here.
“In Japan you see robots being used more often, including at airports for carrying luggage and in the shipping industry where there’s a lot of unloading and loading of goods. This type of robot technology is getting more and more common, so it’s important for it to be adapted to different users,” he says.
“We will probably see more exoskeletons in the future, both in the health and labor sectors. But it’s important that as many people as possible be able to use them.”
Roger Andre Søraa et al. Exoskeletons for all: The interaction between exoskeletons, inclusion, gender, and intersectionality, Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics (2020). DOI: 10.1515/pjbr-2020-0036
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Robot technology for everyone or only for the average particular person? (2020, August 11)
retrieved 11 August 2020
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