Medical Robotics (RAAK-PRO)
The Saxion Research Group “Mechatronics” has the lead in a project on Medical Robotics. This project focuses on the application of mechatronic principles in healthcare by translating scientific innovations into practical robotic systems. These robotic systems can assist in activities of daily life for the elderly and disabled at their homes, in hospitals and in care centres. Medical care currently consists of mainly manual labour, with very little automation. Due to our aging population the demand for care will increase rapidly, but the workforce is expected to decrease. This increasing gap may be reduced by means of robotization of certain tasks. Furthermore, robotization has the potential to provide more flexibility in timing of service to a client, which increases autonomy and quality of life.
In the first phase of the project a number of functional building blocks is developed on care robotics: gripping, vision, navigation, sensing and user interaction. These translate into technical building blocks like fingers, transmissions, robot arm, IMU, laser range finder, etc. In this first phase there is a close collaboration with the industrial partners, Focal Meditech, Demcon and Roessingh R&D, to define the system requirements for the proof-of-principle setups on one hand, and with the research partners UT-RAM and AVANS on the other hand to find innovative solutions for complex technological challenges. In the second phase these building blocks are to be combined into two or three demonstrators that will show the successful implementation of the mechatronic principles in working robotic systems for healthcare.