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Researchers design robotic arm to help people with disabilities operate devices

Prosthesis on the arm of a boy

A research team at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has designed a robotic arm (Robo) to help people with mobility disabilities operate devices such as joystick, mouse or trackball, an official said on Friday.

“The robo helps people with people with mobility disabilities like cerebral palsy to operate devices like joystick, mouse, trackball or use speech recognition systems,” said the official in a statement here.

The robotic arm has been designed by the team at the centre for product design and manufacturing in the sprawling institute in the city’s northwest suburb.

“Eye gaze-controlled computer interfaces help people with intellectual disabilities perform various tasks on par with their non-disabled peers,” said project leader and assistant professor Pradipta Biswas on the occasion.

Unlike other eye gaze-tracking devices that use head-mounted systems, the robo is non-invasive interface through a webcam and a computer.

The team worked with students with neuro disabilities at the Chennai-based Vidya Sagar for the disabled, formerly the Spastics Society of India.

“Many cerebral palsy students are unable to focus on a single point in their visual field due to uncontrolled gaze movement. They are also uncomfortable to see equally all sides of the visual field,” said Biswas.

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