SPARCS: Structuring Physically Assistive Robotics
for Caregiving with Stakeholders-in-the-loop

1Cornell University, 2Columbia University

Abstract: We propose Structuring Physically Assistive Robotics for Caregiving with Stakeholders-in-the-loop (SPARCS), a framework for robot-assisted physical caregiving. SPARCS comprises of a set of basic building blocks foundational to any caregiving scenario. It contains Structured Workflows, an abstraction language developed with stakeholders-in-the-loop through user studies that enables roboticists to translate the inputs from stakeholders into guidelines for robotic caregiving. We collect clinical data from actual users to instantiate six realistic care-recipient avatars and show how SPARCS can be put into use when defining complete-ADL assistance for these avatars. We utilize SPARCS for real robot-assisted feeding tasks and demonstrate how modeling the user can be helpful when designing robotic caregivers. We release SPARCS-box, a web tool that allows roboticists and stakeholders to instantiate and discuss Structured Workflows for assisting users with different mobility limitations. Finally, we identify open challenges in robot-assisted physical caregiving for the robotics community by consulting the stakeholders through our user studies.