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Reclaiming Microinteractions for People with Motor Disabilities

Daniel A. Lazewatsky and William D. Smart.
In "Proceedings of the IROS 2014 Workshop on Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics: Bridging the Gap Between Clinicians and Roboticists", Chicago, IL, 2014.

Many diseases and injuries can limit a person's ability to perform everyday physical tasks, such as dressing, bathing, and eating. Even simple tasks, such as turning on a light switch, can become difficult or even impossible. Assistive technology and, increasingly, robotics have begun to take over some of the functions of human caregivers, making up for deficits in the physical abilities of those with severe motor disorders. However, this automation still imposes constraints, both in the range of tasks that it can help with and in the operator interface that it presents to the person with disabilities. These limitations are particularly acute when considering microinteractions, short interactions with a device or control, where the time required to use the interface to the assistive device dominates the time required for the actual interaction, often by an order of magnitude or more.

Many tasks fall into the category of microinteractions: scratching an itch, turning on the lights, flipping through TV channels. Though small individually, microinteractions comprise a great deal of what we do every day, and the overhead of interacting with the interface is frustrating at best, turning a normally unconscious task into an onerous one. At worst, the overhead is high enough that it makes the task not worth doing at all. In this paper, we argue that using simple contextual information to adapt the interfaces to assistive technology in general, and assistive robots in particular, gives us the ability to make the microinteractions micro again for people with a wide range of physical disabilities.

@inproceedings{iros2014c,
  author = {Lazewatsky, Daniel A. and Smart, William D.},
  title = {Reclaiming Microinteractions for People with Motor Disabilities},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the IROS 2014 Workshop on Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics: Bridging the Gap Between Clinicians and Roboticists},
  address = {Chicago, IL},
  year = {2014}
}