German researchers develop assistant Robot FRIEND for people with disabilities
Europe, March 16 2012
BREMEN, GERMANY: The Bremen University researchers have developed prototype assistant robot FRIEND for people with disabilities.
The care-providing robotic system FRIEND (Functional Robot arm with user-friendly interface for Disabled people) is the third generation, semi-autonomous robot designed to support people with disabilities in their daily life activities, like preparing and serving a meal, or reintegration in professional life.
The robot FRIEND is a massive, electric-powered wheelchair that is equipped, among other things, with a high-end personal computer, a robotic arm and a stereo camera system to scan the environment.
“The system does everything by itself, but the user is in control,” explained Project Director Torsten Heyer, a mathematician on the research staff at the University of Bremen’s Institute of Automation (IAT).
The project AMaRob (Autonomous Manipulator control for rehabilitation Robots) , consisting of technicians, designers, therapists and representatives of various interest groups, influences the development of FRIEND.
The AMaRob project was founded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
By Aqeel Qureshi