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“ú–{•ŸŽƒHŠw‰ïŽ Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 32-39 (2007)

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Fundamental Study of Rehabilitation Robot
(Second Report, Performance Tests and Navigation Control of an Omni-Directional Vehicle)

Toshihiro YUKAWA, Osamu HOSOYA, Takashi MATSUMOTO, and Hideharu OKANO

The development of a robot that can perform nursing tasks in a hospital or a welfare facility is described. The proposed omni-directional mechanism allows the robot to adjust not only to a narrow patient room but also to a narrow hallway. Conventional mobile robots move by recognizing safety passages and original centerlines such as induction lines established permanently in the building. On the other hand, the proposed robot can easily adjust to an existing hospital setting without any special construction; it moves safely on the visual basis of the edge between the floor and wall without any lines needing to be installed in the hospital building. The robot moves based on the observations it makes while switching between its eight cameras automatically, using the cameras facing the direction of progress. The direction of the body of the robot can be controlled autonomously by comparing image information regarding the edge with cell map information; it is directed by commands controlling turning, etc., at points of divergence. When the robot reaches a point of divergence or unexpected obstacles, it determines the appropriate movement by switching the camera angles based on an autonomous calculation using the cell-map information and a specific target extracted from the circumstances, and appropriately changes the direction of the front of its body.

Key words: Care and Welfare Robot, Omni Directional Mobile MechanismCImage RecognitionCEdge between the Floor and Wall, Line Trace, Cell Map