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 “