A List of Household Objects for Robotic Retrieval Prioritized by People with ALS

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Choi, Young Sang
Deyle, Travis
Chen, Tiffany L.
Glass, Jonathan D.
Kemp, Charles C.
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Studies have consistently shown that object retrieval would be a valuable task for assistive robots to perform, yet detailed information about the needs of patients with respect to this task has been lacking. In this paper, we present our efforts to better understand the needs of motor impaired patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with the goal of informing the design and evaluation of assistive mobile robots. We first describe our results from a needs assessment involving 8 patients from the Emory ALS Center. We provided patients and caregivers with cameras and notepads to document when objects were dropped or were otherwise unreachable in daily life. This study confirmed the importance of robotic retrieval and resulted in documented cases of objects being dropped and out of reach for 1 to 120 minutes. Based on this initial study, we created a questionnaire to assess the importance of various objects for robotic retrieval using the Likert scale. We administered this survey to 25 patients through in-person interviews. These studies culminated in a prioritized list of 43 object classes for robotic retrieval. Using the Friedman test we show that the rankings from the patients are statistically consistent. We present this list and discuss its implications for designing and benchmarking assistive robots.
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