Development of Robotic ARM for People with Upper Limb Disabilities by AIST
From Honda’s Walking assist Exoskeleton to Tail-wrist-II robotic arm developed by Tokyo Institute of Technology is becoming apparent that the successful development and commercialization of life supporting type robotic technology requires full human participation. Based on this fundamental concept AIST (Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) has developed a small and light weight robotic arm featuring double sensors and communication technology and so on. The newly developed RAPUD which is designed to assist individuals with upper limb disabilities features a seven degree of freedom in arm and hand and it weighs 6 kg capable of carrying payload of 0.5 kg.
The RAPUD incorporates a linear expansion and contraction mechanism using a continuum of blocks to help to increase the field of vision of its user during its operation resulting at the same time in a reduced number of joints of arm. The accompanying sensors in RAPUD provide ability in measuring joint movements in addition to highly reliable communication system. The RAPUD evaluation has been carried out by individuals suffering form muscular dystrophy or cervical spine damage. The RAPUD comes with a small CPU board specifically developed for the robot with various output interfaces like LAN, USB, a serial port and digital input and output. Furthermore, the RAPUD’S three dimensional vision system comes with a small stereo camera on its arm plus an RT component that helps the arm to grasp objects by detecting their position and posture after observing them. The camera equipped with a 1/3-inch CMOS image sensor with a frame rate of 7.5 fps (VGA) with a progressive scan mode. As for the control interface, RAPUD can be easily operated using a small joystick an automatic scan-type input panel with a single switch, and a general-purpose keypad. RAPUD is based on open architecture using base technology such as RT middle-ware.