Watch Kavita beam in for her Thesis Defense on Dec 9! (Live Stream, 5:30pm EST)

Name: Kavita Preethi Krishnaswamy Thesis Proposal Title: Increased Autonomy with Robotics for Daily Living

Date and Time of Defense: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm on Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Location of Defense: ITE 325B

Live Webcast: or

Committee Members: Dr. Tim Oates (Chair), Dr. Dan Ding, Dr. Tim Finin, Dr. Charles Nicholas, Dr. Yelena Yesha


Robotic technologies can provide people with disabilities invaluable tools to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). Few studies have investigated how effective and accessible the control of robotic aids is for people with severe physical disabilities with respect to their needs and current facility with technology. Though present-day robotic aids can help people with disabilities with important daily living tasks, there is still room for improvement.

What has been needed, and heretofore unavailable, is a self-directed transferring, repositioning, and personal care robotic device that is capable of increasing independence for people with physical disabilities without the assistance of caregivers. This thesis proposal will serve as the base of the research study to design and develop self-directed transferring, repositioning, and personal care robotic systems with a focus on accessible user interfaces for control that are feasible for persons with severe physical disabilities. The interface should allow local and remote control, and thus must be aware of network constraints to ensure safe and accurate control.


Quote from Kavita's advisor, Prof. Tim Oates

"I was initially skeptical that the use of the [Beam] would be much different from phone or skype. We did a practice run of Kavita's talk using the Beam in the room where the actual defense will take place. Kavita stood at the head of the table to give her presentation; she would turn to look at the screen when videos played so she could watch and comment. Then, after the presentation we walked together through the halls of the building back to my office. Kavita said she had not been in the building in about 4 years, and she clearly enjoyed being able to return. We took a couple of pictures together. In effect, having her there with the [Beam] was VERY close to having her there in person. It was a rather surprising and remarkable experience.

- Tim Oates "