Enhancing Future Work of Nursing Professionals through Collaborative Human-Robot Interfaces

October 20, 2020

LARRI Director Dr. Dan Popa along with Co-PIs Dr. Olfa Nasraoui, Dr. M. Cynthia Logsdon, Dr. Bryan Edwards and Dr. William Paiva were awarded a $1.5 million-dollar grant from the Future of Work program at the National Science Foundation to continue research on the Adaptive Robotic Nursing Assistant (ARNA). Their 3 year project is entitled: FW-HTF:RM: Enhancing Future Work of Nursing Professionals through Collaborative Human-Robot Interfaces. This grant will allow the team to further investigate the potential of Collaborative Human-Robot Interfaces (CHRI) to increase productivity and reduce stress of nurses. CHRIs in this project are broadly defined as the link between humans and intelligent machines such as robots using advanced sensors, mobile computing, and display devices. These interfaces utilize neural networks and generic algorithms and adjust to psycho-physiological and tactile signals from users and are designed to allow novice nurses and patients to operate robots with wearable sensors for prevention of falls. The team will develop two CHRIs and compare their performance in an assisted walking task with the nursing staff. The project will promote the progress of science and advance national health by providing a blueprint for engineering future nursing assistant robots, inform healthcare facility design to accommodate the robots, and advancing instruction on the use of intelligent robotic assistants into formal nursing education, nurse training, and credentialing.

The project team include 2 faculty from UofL’s Speed School (Popa, Nasraoui), a faculty from UofL’s school of Nursing (Logsdon), along with 2 faculty from Oklahoma State University Business School. They will also be working to develop instructional programs in robotics and machine learning at the University of Louisville, including the involvement of undergraduate nursing students, and outreach to rural primary care clinics and hospital settings through the Center for Health Systems Innovation at Oklahoma State University. The interfaces in this project will be evaluated by approximately 150 expert and novice users, nursing students and simulated patients to advance understanding of which types of tasks are better assigned to people and which may be delegated to robots in nursing scenarios. Finally, the team will perform economic analyses of the impact of the technology on nursing costs and the skilling needs for future healthcare industry.