The ICORR'97 conference was the fifth in an occasional series of meetings. Having last been held in the U.S. three years ago, this two-day meeting organized by the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering attracted a very good attendance of about 80 delegates. Besides UK delegates there were large groups from the States and mainland Europe and a smaller number from Japan. Delegates included engineers, occupational therapists and a full-time user of a rehabilitation robot system.
The theme of the conference was set by Richard Mahoney, past chair of the RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America) robotics SIG in the United States and Christian Bühler, chair of the European AAATE (Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe) Robotics SIG. Both spoke of the width of work going on in this area as well as the difficulties of transferring the technology to marketable devices.
One important area raised was that of "Exactly what is a robot?" At one extreme, one could be inclusive and include powered feeders (for example) as robots. At the other extreme, there are those who would like to drop the term "robot" altogether. Another comparison made was between a full specification "robot" and a simple item such as a "pick up stick." The question was raised as to whether there was an intermediate level of technology which we had not identified yet.
Over the two days there were sessions of submitted papers in the following areas:
Besides the oral presentations there was a poster session and a number of robotic systems on display:
ICORR'97 was an enjoyable and worthwhile meeting of colleagues from around the world providing a forum for encouragement and sharing of ideas as well as some excellent social events-a reception and meal at the Roman Baths and a traditional English game of skittles. The next ICORR conference is planned to be held in two years time at Stanford University, California.
Unfortunately there are no spare copies of the proceedings available, but for those who may be interested, we are making the papers available on the web at: http://www.bath.ac.uk/~mpsbime/proceed.htm.
URL of this document: http://www.asel.udel.edu/
Last updated: November 1997
Copyright © Applied Science and Engineering Laboratories, 1997.