Bridging the gap between robotic technology and health care

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Andrade, Adriano O. ; Pereira, Adriano A. ; Walter, Steffen ; Almeida, Rosimary ; Loureiro, Rui ; Compagna, Diego ; Kyberd, Peter J. (2014)

Although technology and computation power have become more and more present in our daily lives, we have yet to see the same tendency in robotics applied to health care. In this work we focused on the study of four distinct applications of robotic technology to health care, named Robotic Assisted Surgery, Robotics in Rehabilitation, Prosthetics and Companion Robotic Systems. We identified the main roadblocks that are limiting the progress of such applications by an extensive examination of recent reports. Based on the limitations of the practical use of current robotic technology for health care we proposed a general modularization approach for the conception and implementation of specific robotic devices. The main conclusions of this review are: (i) there is a clear need of the adaptation of robotic technology (closed loop) to the user, so that robotics can be widely accepted and used in the context of heath care; (ii) for all studied robotic technologies cost is still prohibitive and limits their wide use. The reduction of costs influences technology acceptability; thus innovation by using cheaper computer systems and sensors is relevant and should be taken into account in the implementation of robotic systems.
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