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Professor of Medical Robotics and Mechatronics Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna University of Pisa
In recent years concrete applications for systems which could assist or replace humans in servicing tasks for hospital, as well as residential care, have been prefigured by numerous major academic and industrial laboratories. Robotics could certainly play an essential role for the generation of a new, more technological, concept of assistance by providing innovative tools to support a huge variety of potential users, including the disabled and the elderly, in everyday activities. This presentation will discuss different approaches to the problem of the assistance to the disabled and the elderly, including bench- or table-mounted manipulators embedded in a completely structured desktop workstations, wheelchair-mounted manipulators and mobile vehicles equipped with a manipulator and capable of performing autonomous or semiautonomous operation. All of the approaches are discussed with references to specific examples, with particular emphasis on those developed at the author's laboratory in the framework of national and european projects.