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School-based use of a robotic arm system by children with disabilities

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5 Author(s)
Cook, A.M. ; Fac. of Rehabilitation Med., Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta., Canada ; Bentz, B. ; Harbottle, N. ; Lynch, C.
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A robotic arm system was developed for use by children who had very severe motor disabilities and varying levels of cognitive and language skills. The children used the robot in a three-task sequence routine to dig objects from a tub of dry macaroni. The robotic system was used in the child's school for 12-15 sessions over a period of four weeks. Goal attainment scaling indicated improvement in all children in operational competence of the robot, and varying levels of gain in functional skill development with the robot and in carryover to the classroom from the robot experiments. Teacher interviews revealed gains in classroom participation, expressive language (vocalizations, symbolic communication), and a high degree of interest by the children in the robot tasks. The teachers also recommended that the robot should have more color, contrast and character, as well as generating sounds and/or music for student cues. They also felt that the robotic system accuracy should be increased so that teacher assistance is not necessary to complete the task.

Published in:

Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 4 )