Framework For Robot-Assisted Doffing of Personal Protective Equipment Public
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When treating highly-infectious diseases such as Ebola, health workers are at high risk of infection during the doffing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This is due to factors such as fatigue, hastiness, and inconsistency in training. The introduction of a semi-autonomous robot doffing assistant has the potential to increase the safety of the doffing procedure by assisting the human during high-risk sub-tasks. The addition of a robot into the procedure introduces the need to transform a purely human task into a sequence of safe and effective human-robot collaborative actions. We take advantage of the fact that the human can do the more intricate motions during the procedure. Since diseases like Ebola can spread through the mucous membranes of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth our goal is to keep the human’s hands away from his or her face as much as possible. Thus our framework focuses on using the robot to help avoid such human risky motion. As secondary goals, we seek to also minimize the human’s effort and make the robot’s motion intuitive for the human. To address different versions and variants of PPE, we propose a way of segmenting the doffing procedure into a sequence of human and robot actions such that the robot only assists when necessary. Our framework then synthesizes assistive motions for the robot that perform parts of the tasks according to the metrics above. Our experiments on five doffing tasks suggest that the introduction of a robot assistant improves the safety of the procedure in three out of four of the high-risk doffing tasks while reducing effort in all five tasks.
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Permanent link to this page: https://digital.wpi.edu/show/5999n352m