Assessment Aspects

Buying a robot cannot be compared to anything else. There are many factors to be considered. Some have been mentioned because they also inform the design characteristics of an ARM. The following list provides a brief overview of what should be considered when equating the acquisition of an ARM: [1]

Assessment for an ARM, as for any other assistive technology, should be done by a team, including

  • • The end user;
  • • An occupational therapist for helping with setting targets, training, and guidance in the initial period;
  • • The caregiver for general support and creating possibilities to achieve the goals of the end user; and
  • • A wheelchair technician to obtain local support for wheelchair integration or minor troubleshooting.

Financial Aspects

The market for assistive robotics will by nature be a niche market. Inherently, this means low volumes and therefore relatively high(er) prices. Most individuals will not have enough financial resources to purchase an ARM individually and need to find some kind of funding. Important arguments for applying funding could be found in quantitative financial arguments like return on investment and hard-to-measure qualitative arguments such as quality of life. The following section provides a critical review of studies that have evaluated several aspects of ARM use, including associated cost savings, user acceptance, and design.

  • [1] End-user characteristics: Does the end user have enough drive to be asindependent as possible? Does the end user have enough cognitive skillsto effectively use the ARM? • Research on available ARMs: What are their capabilities? How can theybe objectively compared? What is the availability? • Research on the companies behind the different ARMS: What are theirservice level and skills? What do I expect? • Input devices: What input devices are available that I can actually use?Can I try this before I decide to buy this robot? • ARM mounting: What are the mounting possibilities of the ARM (whereand how)? Can anyone do this mounting, or does it need to be done by adealer? And, if so, do I lose my wheelchair for a certain amount of time?
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