Aside from the recent progresses in robotics, autonomous robots are still limited in assisting disabled people. On the contrary, the animal, especially dogs, have demonstrated real skills to support the human being in many everyday life situations, such as rescue (avalanches, earthquakes...), smell detection (drugs, explosives or even cancers), handicap assistance (blind, deaf, motor or cognitive disabled people)... However, each system, the robot or the dog, has its own limitations: a step or a hole can fatally immobilize the machine and a cat may easily distract the animal. Due to the limitations and complementarities between a service dog and an assistive robot, the idea of the Cochise project is to develop a hybrid system animal/robot that will take advantage of both to be more efficient. In the present study, this approach is applied to assist people with motor disabilities. The robot is used to “augment” the service dog by increasing its control from the human being. This machine is a mediator that translates and transmits the dog state to the human user, on one hand, and enables the person to trigger predetermined behaviors of the animal, on the other hand.
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