Last year, the Transport Accidents Commission (TAC) offered a grant to companies that could assist people with a disability in their everyday lives. Here at Aubot, we thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to allow for people with a disability to control our robots, regardless of their ability. Over the past few months, the team at Aubot’s Melbourne office conducted trials, offering the opportunity for those both with and without disabilities to pilot the Teleport through a variety of control interface devices, such as chin control, joystick control, and head-tracking with a puff switch. These devices would allow for those with limited mobility and dexterity, and those who would not be able to comfortably control the Teleport using the conventional keyboard controls, to use the Teleport to explore the world around them.
While many of the individuals that were part of the trials did not have a great deal of, or any, experience with all the interfaces we were testing, most of them enjoyed trying to figure the controls out and controlling the Teleport through them. Across the 26 trials we conducted both in our office in Richmond, and around the Greater Melbourne and Geelong Area, we received some very good feedback on the ability to control the Teleport through this variety of control interfaces, leading us here at Aubot to be optimistic about the future aid that this technology could provide to the community of people with limited upper limb mobility.