A robotic walking assistant for localisation and guidance of older adults in large public spaces

Moro, Federico (2015) A robotic walking assistant for localisation and guidance of older adults in large public spaces. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

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Ageing is often associated with reduced mobility which is the consequence of a combination of physical, sensory and cognitive degrading. Reduced mobility may weaken older adults’confidence in getting out alone and traveling autonomously in large spaces. We have developed a robotic walking assistant, that compensates for sensory and cognitive impairments and supports the user’s navigation across complex spaces. The device is a walker with cognitive abilities that we named c-Walker, and it is built around a common walker for elderly people. We show the difficulties that arise when building a robotic platform, focusing on hardware and software architecture for the basic functionalities and integration of high level software components. We developed an Extended Kalman Filter in such a way that we are able to select a configuration of sensors that meets our requirements of cost, accuracy, and robustness. We describe the technological and scientific foundations for different guidance systems, and their implementation in the device. Some of them are “active” meaning that the system is allowed to “force a turn” in a specified direction. The other ones are “passive” meaning that they merely produce directions that the user is supposed to follow on her own will. We show a comparison of the different guidance systems together with the results of experiments with a group of volunteers.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Information and Communication Technology
PhD Cycle:27
Subjects:Area 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche > INF/01 INFORMATICA
Uncontrolled Keywords:Assisted living, software architecture, localisation, passive guidance
Repository Staff approval on:14 May 2015 12:04

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