A COVID-19 Emergency Response for Remote Control of a Dialysis Machine with Mobile HRI

Hassam Khan Wazir, Christian Lourido, Sonia Mary Chacko, Vikram Kapila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Healthcare workers face a high risk of contagion during a pandemic due to their close proximity to patients. The situation is further exacerbated in the case of a shortage of personal protective equipment that can increase the risk of exposure for the healthcare workers and even non-pandemic related patients, such as those on dialysis. In this study, we propose an emergency, non-invasive remote monitoring and control response system to retrofit dialysis machines with robotic manipulators for safely supporting the treatment of patients with acute kidney disease. Specifically, as a proof-of-concept, we mock-up the touchscreen instrument control panel of a dialysis machine and live-stream it to a remote user’s tablet computer device. Then, the user performs touch-based interactions on the tablet device to send commands to the robot to manipulate the instrument controls on the touchscreen of the dialysis machine. To evaluate the performance of the proposed system, we conduct an accuracy test. Moreover, we perform qualitative user studies using two modes of interaction with the designed system to measure the user task load and system usability and to obtain user feedback. The two modes of interaction included a touch-based interaction using a tablet device and a click-based interaction using a computer. The results indicate no statistically significant difference in the relatively low task load experienced by the users for both modes of interaction. Moreover, the system usability survey results reveal no statistically significant difference in the user experience for both modes of interaction except that users experienced a more consistent performance with the click-based interaction vs. the touch-based interaction. Based on the user feedback, we suggest an improvement to the proposed system and illustrate an implementation that corrects the distorted perception of the instrumentation control panel live-stream for a better and consistent user experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number612855
JournalFrontiers in Robotics and AI
StatePublished - May 7 2021


  • COVID-19
  • human-robot interaction
  • interface
  • manipulation
  • remote interaction
  • robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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