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High School Student Attends Class via Telepresence Robot

February 2, 2011

The future is now. A high school freshman in Texas with an immune disease is attending school using a telepresence robot from Vgo. Check out the video here. In the video, Lyndon Baty describes how the Vgo robot allows him to attend class, cruise the hallways, and most importantly see and interact with other students his age.

Here is a promotional video from Vgo:

Vgo points out that telepresence is a step above teleconferencing. The mobile base can roam the office, laboratory or warehouse and connects to the internet over wifi to capture and display video chat. This type of technology has broad applications allowing a new level of communication and interaction between people that might not otherwise have that opportunity.

[via Singularity Hub]


QoLT Foundry at CES 2011

December 30, 2010

CES Logo

The QoLT ERC will be represented at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 6-9, 2011 by members of the QoLT Foundry.  The Foundry was created “to assess the potential of and accelerate commercialization for research projects” associated with the QoLT ERC.  Led by Curt Stone, the group guides various product opportunities through a process of “ensuring implementation of intellectual property protection strategy, defining business models, advising on strategic positioning, building experienced management teams, creating alliances, and identifying market and funding opportunities.”

Those attending CES can find more info about the QoLT booth here.

ReWalk on Glee

December 15, 2010

The ReWalk was recently featured on the popular FOX TV show Glee.  Artie, a paraplegic in the glee club, receives them as a present for Christmas and uses them to walk around the room.

The ReWalk is a robotic lower limb assistive device made by Argo Medical Technologies in Israel.  Its electric motors provide extra torque to help the user walk upright with crutches.  The adoption of assistive robotic technologies like this around the world will be increasing rapidly in the coming years.  It was exciting to see the device featured on such a popular TV show.

Read more about ReWalk

Watch the Glee Episode on Hulu

Fluid Powered Foot Orthosis

December 2, 2010

First generation foot-ankle orthosis device by CCEFP

At the NSF ERC Annual Meeting this week, QoLT Blog learned about a new project by a fellow ERC called the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP).  The project aims to produce a lightweight and compact foot-ankle orthosis device, leveraging their expertise in fluid actuation which has a high power to weight ratio, to help individuals that suffer from a disability that has limited their mobility.

Read more at CCEFP

Berkeley Bionics eLEGS

October 7, 2010

Based closely on their work on HULC, an exoskeleton designed for military use, Berkeley Bionics have built a consumer version called eLEGS. The lower-limb exoskeleton allows users who would otherwise be confined to a wheelchair to walk. It looks as though the device supports most of the weight of the user, but still requires use of crutches or a walker to fully stabilize. Another application of the eLEGS will be rehabilitation of users with functioning legs by providing assistive or resistive forces to retrain their muscles so they can return to normal function.

Willow Garage Telepresence Robot on TV

October 4, 2010

The Willow Garage Texai telepresence robot was recently featured on an episode of the Big Bang Theory.  Telepresence robots represent an opportunity for friends/family/caregivers to have a more personal interaction with someone without actually being there. See the clip here:

Robotic Suit for Elderly Japanese Farmers

September 28, 2010

Researchers at the Toyama Lab at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology are working on a robotic exoskeleton called the Wearable Agri Robot.  The exoskeleton is intended to be used by elderly farmers and will make it easier for them to carry heavy loads.  See a video of the suit in action.

Japanese researcher using robotic suit to pick fruit

Tomoaki Mashimo received his PhD from the Toyama Lab and is now working with Takeo Kanade on QoLT-related manipulation problems at the Robotics Institute.