Towards Assistive Feeding with a General-Purpose Mobile Manipulator
Kim, You Keun
Kemp, Charles C.
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General-purpose mobile manipulators have the potential to serve as a versatile form of assistive technology. However, their complexity creates challenges, including the risk of being too difficult to use. We present a proof-of-concept robotic system for assistive feeding that consists of a Willow Garage PR2, a high-level web-based interface, and specialized autonomous behaviors for scooping and feeding yogurt. As a step towards use by people with disabilities, we evaluated our system with 5 able-bodied participants. All 5 successfully ate yogurt using the system and reported high rates of success for the system’s autonomous behaviors. Also, Henry Evans, a person with severe quadriplegia, operated the system remotely to feed an able-bodied person. In general, people who operated the system reported that it was easy to use, including Henry. The feeding system also incorporates corrective actions designed to be triggered either autonomously or by the user. In an offline evaluation using data collected with the feeding system, a new version of our multimodal anomaly detection system outperformed prior versions.