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Rehabilitation robots (e.g. FRIEND as intelligent wheelchair mounted manipulator) are being developed to gain their user's autonomy within daily life environment. To prevent a high cognitive load onto the user, task input on a high level of abstraction is mandatory. State-of-the-art rehabilitation robots are still not capable to integrate fragments of intelligent behavior into an overall context and to solve complex tasks. A basic problem is how to cope with system complexity as well as computational complexity that evolve during task planning. A compromise towards feasibility is to equip the system's environment with smart components that provide own intelligence and thus reduce the complexity of the robotic system. However, a structured approach is necessary to fuse the distributed intelligence. This paper is about the concept and realization of a software-framework being able to execute autonomous system operations together with information retrieving capabilities and user interactions within a distributed system. Key aspects of development have been to provide robust run-time behavior of the system along with the inclusion and resolving of redundant sensor information as well as to reduce the effort of system programming to a minimum. The application of the developed framework is demonstrated on base of sample steps of its integration with the FRIEND II rehabilitation robotic system within an intelligent home environment.
Date of Conference: 28 June-1 July 2005