Design and evaluation of safe interactions between humans and wearable robots

Establish a design platform and an evaluative framework for safe wearable robot interfacing and interactions
Description of the Project: 

Wearable robots (WR) cover a wide spectrum of robotic devices that can be worn or be partially worn by human or even animals. Perhaps the most well referred WRs are assistive devices such as powered prostheses and exoskeletons.  However, with advances in miniaturisation, it is anticipated that WRs will evolve through intelligent mechanisms, software and physical hardware not just for assisting with human motion. Future WRs could be a range of devices that become sentinels, guides or other companion accessories, worn by a human or indeed cohabit and/or even live within the human.  Besides fundamental research needed to realise such robots and autonomy, there are fundamental requirements on safety and standards for WR interfacing and interactions.

This project will involve research in the design and development of a WR device for social, emotional and behavioural development. Its purpose could be for augmentation and assistance of social mediation. It could also be for substitution of human actions or to discover play styles from solitary to social and cooperative play.  The project will also involve creating a cyber physical digital twin environment (e.g. in the form of a Serious Game) to collect data and evaluate the interfacing and interaction of the WR device. Given this scope a human-factors or bio-inspired approach can be taken to study natural interactions and symbiosis between humans and the WR.

Student will establish the bidirectional and embodied interactions between user/group and WR on selected tasks e.g. watch, sort, stack, build, balance, etc.   and evaluate interaction modes and task performance profiles of both user and WR.  The student will look to ascertain user symbiosis with the WR as it operates at different spatial and temporal (physical and cognitive) scales, e.g. as personal PDA drones.

Resources required: 
3D printing, sensors, microprocessor (Some items are already available)
Project number: 
240015
First Supervisor: 
University: 
Heriot-Watt University
Second Supervisor(s): 
First supervisor university: 
Heriot-Watt University
Essential skills and knowledge: 
IoT, Mechatronics, Software engineering, Systems engineering
Desirable skills and knowledge: 
Cyber-physical systems, Wearable devices, Human Factors, Systems usability assessment
References: 

Harper, S., Sivanathan, A., Lim, T., McGibbon, S. & Ritchie, J. M. (2018) Development of a Mixed Reality Game for Simulation Based Education. Proc. 12th European Conf. on Games Based Learning. Ciussi, M. (ed.). Academic Conferences and Publishing International , p. 212-220.

Sivanathan, A., McGibbon, S., Lim, T., Ritchie, J. M. & Abdel - Wahab, M. S., (2017) A Cyber-Physical Gaming System for Vocational Training. ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Vol. 1, DETC2017-67560.

Lim, T., Iurchenko, D., Rajendran, G., Sivanathan, A. & Ritchie, J. M., (2016) Advances in balance and biofeedback measurement: the case for health-based, postural serious games. Proceedings of the ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference. 8 p. IDETC2016-59201

Brock, A., Lim, T., Ritchie, J. M. & Weston, N., (2016) CONTEXT-AWARE CONTENT GENERATION FOR VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTSProceedings of the ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference 2016. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, p. 1-8 8 p. IDETC2016-59997

Friedrich, E., Sivanathan, A., Lim, T., Suttie, N., Louchart, S., Pillen, S. & Pineda, J. (2015) An Effective Neurofeedback Intervention to Improve Social Interactions in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 45, 12, p. 4084-4100

Garbaya, S., Miraoui, C., Wendrich, R., Lim, T., Stanescu, I. A. & Baalsrud Hauge, J. (2014) SENSORIAL VIRTUALIZATION: COUPLING GAMING AND VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT. Journal of Advanced Distributed Learning Technology. 2, 5, p. 16-30