Service Robots and Automation for the Disabled/Limited

  • Birgit GrafEmail author
  • Harald StaabEmail author
Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


The increasing number of elderly people is resulting in increased demand for new solutions to support self-initiative and independent life. Robotics and automation technologies, initially applied in industrial environments only, are starting to move into our everyday lives to provide support and enhance the quality of our lives. This chapter analyzes the needs of disabled or limited persons and discusses possible tasks of new assistive service robots. It further gives an overview of existing solutions available as prototypes or products. Existing technologies to assist disabled or limited persons can be grouped into stand-alone devices operated by the user explicitly such as robotic walkers, wheelchairs, guidance robots or manipulation aids, and wearable devices that are attached to the user and operated implicitly by measuring the desired limb motion of the user such as in orthoses, exoskeletons or prostheses. Two recent developments are discussed in detail as application examples: the robotic home assistant Care-O-bot and the bionic robotic arm ISELLA. One of the most important challenges for future developments is to reduce costs in order to make assistive technologies available to everybody. On the technological side, user interfaces need to be designed that allow the use of the machines even by persons who have no technical knowledge and that enable new tasks to be taught to assistive robots without much effort. Finally, safe manipulation of assistive robots among humans must be guaranteed by new sensors and corresponding safety standards.


Mobile Robot Humanoid Robot Service Robot Wearable Device Gait Rehabilitation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.





autonomous guided vehicle


advanced step in innovation mobility




degrees of freedom


electroactive polymer


International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics


International Conference on Robotics and Automation


intelligent parking assist


Intelligent Robots and Systems


intrinsically safe lightweight low-cost arm


metropolitan area network


minimum vector field histogram


oriented bounding box


office wheelchair with high manoeuvrability and navigational intelligence


personal computer


professional vocational assistive robot


resolution advisory


redundant array of independent disk


robot to assist the integration of the disabled




register transfer


scale-invariant feature transform


shape-memory alloys


support vector machine




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Robot SystemsFraunhofer IPAStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Robotics and ManufacturingABB AG, Corporate Research Center GermanyLadenburgGermany

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