Gliesche, Pascal and Krick, Tobias and Pfingsthorn, Max and Drolshagen, Sandra and Kowalski, Christian and Hein, Andreas
Frontiers in Robotics and AI
Ensuring care is one of the biggest humanitarian challenges of the future since an acute shortage in nursing staff is expected. At the same time, this offers the opportunity for new technologies in nursing, as the use of robotic systems. One potential use case is outpatient care, which nowadays involves traveling long distances. Here, the use of telerobotics could provide a major relief for the nursing staff, as it could spare them many of those—partially far—journeys. Since autonomous robotic systems are not desired at least in Germany for ethical reasons, this paper evaluates the design of a telemanipulation system consisting of off-the-shelf components for outpatient care. Furthermore, we investigated the suitability of two different input devices for control, a kinesthetic device, and a keyboard plus mouse. We conducted the investigations in a laboratory study. This laboratory represents a realistic environment of an elderly home and a remote care service center. It was carried out with 25 nurses. Tasks common in outpatient care, such as handing out things (manipulation) and examining body parts (set camera view), were used in the study. After a short training period, all nurses were able to control a manipulator with the two input devices and perform the two tasks. It was shown that the Falcon leads to shorter execution times (on average 0:54.82 min, compared to 01:10.92 min with keyboard and mouse), whereby the participants were more successful with the keyboard plus mouse, in terms of task completion. There is no difference in usability and cognitive load. Moreover, we pointed out, that the access to this kind of technology is desirable, which is why we identified further usage scenarios.