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Seven Hills Foundation
04 2020

I, Robot

By Jean Des Roches, AT Program Director

“R2-D2, where are you?” -  C3PO

Picture this, if you can:  an 11-year-old girl sits cross-legged on the floor watching the first episode of a little show called Star-Trek. Wide-eyed, she watches as unheard-of technology is displayed as a backdrop to the plot. Automatic doors, computers, voice-responsive computers, hand-held communication devices!  Now they weren’t as big on robots, at least not until Data arrived, as say Star Wars was, but come on folks – here was a world where robots were possible!

Quantum-leap fifty-two years into the future and that little girl, now much older and if you’ll permit, wiser, was able to ask her co-worker the other day, “Is the robot ready to use?” FINALLY!

Thanks to SHF’s collaboration with UMass Lowell, a telepresence robot was created that can be driven around remotely using an Android app. Attached to the “robot” is a Kindle Fire which uses SKYPE to carry picture and voice. Imagine being confined to bed and driving around your friend’s house party? Awesome.

This got me to thinking about how most people don’t have access to student engineers, so I set off to see what kind of “off-the-shelf” robots or robotic helpers I could find. Enjoy!

OBI Feeding RobotOBI Feeding Robot

“OUR MISSION - Provide people with magical moments that inspire a mindset undaunted by limitations and excited about possibilities.”

Human Support Robot by Toyota Human Support Robot by Toyota

The  Human Support Robot is about a meter tall and features a telescopic body, extendable folding arm, and flexible hand. The current version of the sensor-laden robot responds to QR-like codes placed on various objects about the home that help it to build up a map of its operating area. In the video we see Romy using a mouth stick to tap out commands on a tablet, with the wheel-based robot responding accordingly. It can also understand voice commands. Click here to see Toyota’s robot helping a disabled American Veteran.

Kinova robotic armKinova

“Reach out to us today to learn more about our assistive solutions and figure out which one is right for you. Kinova offers solutions ranging from robotic arms to dynamic arm supports, and there are numerous options available that we can provide you regarding payment, installation and more. We want to assist you every step of the way to ensure your experience is exactly what you’ve imagined it to be.”

Last, but far from least, check out the personal robot Temi!

How can you find out if there is a robot that can help you? First, don’t be shy to bring the subject up with your doctors and rehab specialists – robots are here my friends. Research or have someone help you research your options. Start a GoFundMe page! And please stop by 81 Hope Ave to take a peek at our robot!!

“'Star Trek' is about acceptance, and the strength of the Starship Enterprise is that it embraces diversity in all its forms.” George Takei

Warmest Regards,


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