Technological innovations when combined with the humanitarian efforts can bring immeasurable benefits to the human race. Disability Assistant Robot with eye(i) navigation or simply DARWiN is the result of one such effort wherein a smart robot takes and carries out the orders from its master who is suffering from disabled motor movements thus making him less dependent on others.
The technology is developed by a group of engineering students of the Northeastern University that include Jason Turcotte, Huy Tran, Jeremy Egan, Brian Nelson and Frank Viera. The program aims at boosting the confidence of patients suffering from Cerebral Palsy or other motor disabilities comprises software that tracks eye movement of the user on different parts of a computer screen. The camera fitted on the arm of the robot gets video signals of what the user is looking at the screen and immediately responds to the command.
In fact the computer screen runs an application in which the screen is divided into different parts each specifying a specialized task like ‘switch off the lights’, ‘call for help’ or ‘close the door’, etc. In cases where a patient can speak, DARWiN can easily pick voice signals and act accordingly. The technology is simple yet effective and takes only one hour or so to train the user. That is the reason why the team didn’t opt for brain-control device which definitely would have been more effective but required long training time and accentuated costs. Looking from the humanitarian perspective, the innovation is a giant leap in medical science because patients suffering from motor disabilities often lose self confidence because of their full dependence on others for sustenance and often lost battle of life. The introduction of DARWiN will certainly kindle a ray of hope and positivity in the lives of the sufferer.