Successful TAC Mobility Trials

Last year, the Transport Accidents Commission (TAC) offered a grant to companies that could assist people with a disability in their everyday lives. Here at Aubot, we thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to allow for people with a disability to control our robots, regardless of their ability.  Over the past few months, the team at Aubot’s Melbourne office conducted trials, offering the opportunity for those both with and without disabilities to pilot the Teleport through a variety of control interface devices, such as chin control, joystick control, and head-tracking with a puff switch.  These devices would allow for those with limited mobility and dexterity, and those who would not be able to comfortably control the Teleport using the conventional keyboard controls, to use the Teleport to explore the world around them.

While many of the individuals that were part of the trials did not have a great deal of, or any, experience with all the interfaces we were testing, most of them enjoyed trying to figure out the controls and controlling the Teleport through them.  Across the 26 trials we conducted both in our office in Richmond, and around the Greater Melbourne and Geelong Area, we received some very good feedback on the ability to control the Teleport through this variety of control interfaces, leading us here at Aubot to be optimistic about the future aid that this technology could provide to the community of people with limited upper limb mobility.

Dave in Dandenong

On a cloudy Friday morning in February, Dave (a Teleport robot) and Ben (not a robot) rolled out of the Aubot office in Richmond, and made their way out away from downtown Melbourne to the Drum Theatre in the charming suburb of Dandenong.  It was here that Marita Cheng, the founder and CEO of Aubot was going to be giving a speech to a group of year twelve students.  However Marita was not going to be in the building, or even the country. Rather she was sitting in her office across the Pacific in San Francisco, enjoying a wonderfully chilly American Winter.  This is where Dave came to the rescue.

Being a Teleport, Dave went up on stage, and allowed Marita to have a presence there, under her own control, lending to the presentation a level of naturality and authenticity.  The gasps and laughter that came from the crowd when Marita turned the Teleport [Dave] around after her introduction was enough to show the level of excitement these students felt about a robot assisting in the presentation.

The Teleport ready for action in Dandenong