A Robot With An Augmented-Reality Display For Functional Capacity Evaluation And Rehabilitation Of Injured Workers

Occupational rehabilitation is an integral part of the recovery process for workers who have sustained injuries at the workplace. It often requires the injured worker to engage in functional tasks that simulate the workplace environment to help regain their functional capabilities and allow for a return to employment.We present a system comprised of a robotic arm for recreating the physical dynamics of functional tasks and a 3D Augmented Reality (AR) display for immersive visualization of the tasks. While this system can be used to simulate a multitude of occupational tasks, we focus on one specific functional task. Participants perform a virtual version of the task using the robot-AR system, and a physical version of the same task without the system. This study shows the results for two able-bodied users to determine if the robot-AR system produces upper-limb movements similar to the real-life equivalent task. The similarity between relative joint positions, i.e., hand-to-elbow (H2E) and elbow-to-shoulder (E2S) displacements, is evaluated within clusters based on the spatial position of the user’s hand. The H2E displacements for approximately 50% of hand position clusters were consistent between the robot- AR and real-world conditions and approximately 30% for E2S displacements. The similar clusters are distributed across the entire task space, however, indicating the robot-AR system has the potential to properly simulate real-world equivalent tasks.