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Robots, robotics and the disabled population

Despite it being 2020, there’s a section of the population that’s often overlooked or misrepresented – the disabled population.

A section that encompasses a wide range of disabilities, many individuals fall under this umbrella. However, many are overlooked or misunderstood, you only have to look at the TV to see how disabled people are being shut out.

Due to this, navigating day-to-day life for many disabled individuals can be difficult.

However, with the advancements in technology over the decades, with everything from wheelchair accessible vehicles at places like Allied Mobility, to the advancements in prosthetics and education, things are improving.

And, this could improve further with the help of robots and robotics.

Advanced wheelchairs

Since their inception, wheelchairs have come a long way. In the last 50 years alone we’ve since the birth of the electric wheelchair, which was a technological advancement that helped those with disabilities across the world in ways once unimaginable.

However, the future looks even brighter, with robotics being used to help advance the wheelchair even further. While there’s one that can be controlled by an eye-gaze, helping those disabled from the neck down, the most advanced wheelchair is also being pioneered in Hong Kong, and is very much a robot, as it’s able to learn how to navigate complex environments.

Robots

While you may summon up images of Iron Man or Robocop, this isn’t the case. There’s currently research being done into how to develop new interfaces to make robot control more seamless.

This has seen researchers at Georgia Tech work with an individual, who’s almost completely paralysed and unable to speak, to conduct everyday tasks.

This is done through the use of a robot, helping them to do things such as wipe their mouth, scratch their head and remain comfortable in bed without the help of a fellow human.

Machine learning

While the concept of machine learning may not sound new to you, after all, devices like Siri and Alexa and various other smart devices in your home use this kind of tech to make your everyday life easier.

With that in mind, this technology can be leveraged to help those with disabilities, helping to give them more independence.

With machines now able to learn algorithms to understand images, sounds and even languages, this can help those living with an array of disabilities such as deafness and autism to improve their day-to-day life.

With technology always advancing, who knows what could happen in the near future, but one thing’s for sure, the world could be greatly improved for many living with various disabilities with the continued improvement in robotics.

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