Extending the Reach of Telepresence

A drone robot hovering above barren ground.

I recently began a project using the AR Parrot Drone.  While trying to dig up some information on how to fly, hack, and otherwise use my new toy, I came across Henry Evans and  “Robots for Humanity.” We’ve previously done stories on how Telepresence has assisted students to attend classes from home or a hospital, but Henry has taken this to a whole new level.  Working with Willow Garage’s PR2 he has been able to shave and feed himself and perform all sorts of tasks around his home.  Though Henry is a quadriplegic, he is no longer bed-ridden and can explore the world around him and is using the PR2 as his real life avatar.   

Recently Henry began working with Chad Jenkins at Brown and studying how drones can assist the disabled.  Using his Parrot AR Drone, Henry can check out his garden and even tour the campus at Brown.  The goal of “Robots for Humanity” is to use off the shelf electronics to enhance the lives of the disabled.  Henry is truly a pioneer in adaptive robotics and is not letting the limitations of his body stop him from living a fulfilling life.  Using a Beam Pro from Suitable Technologies, Henry was recently able to give a TEDTalk.  You can see Henry’s inspiring story below.

The Beam Pro telepresence robot being utilized by Henry Evans and Chad Jones during a TEDTalk presentation.

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