Monthly Archives: October 2013

Henry Evans Shaving: Robots for Humanity – YouTube

30 Oct 2013

Georgia Tech receives major grant that will help support R4H

GT | News Center :: Georgia Tech researchers study aging with disabilities.

30 Oct 2013

Henry Evans presenting at TedX

Henry Evans

Henry Evans and Chad Jenkins are presenting Robots for Humanity (

24 Oct 2013

Body Surrogate Overview

In 2011, Henry Evans saw a PR2 robot on CNN and had an epiphany: a robot like that could serve as his external body. He contacted Charlie Kemp at Georgia Tech and Steve Cousins at Willow Garage and suggested a collaboration. Charlie put together a team of graduate students, and Steve put together a team of researchers and engineers, and together the team built a large collection of software for the PR2 robot to address Henry’s needs.

The Georgia Tech team built a user interface that Henry had sketched (using Powerpoint), which Henry immediately tried to use to shave himself. Once the blood was cleaned up, they refined the system and ultimately Henry was able to shave not only himself, but also Charlie across the country. Charlie’s lab added sensitive skin to the PR2, so that the robot could feel when it bumped into Henry.

The Willow Garage team was led by Kaijen Hsiao and Matei Ciocarlie, and focused on interactive manipulation – letting Henry trigger autonomous grasping operations easily. Andreas Paepcke worked with Henry to improve the PR2′s speaking ability and also explored various approaches to faster text input for Henry, and to provide an easy way for Henry to “puppet” the PR2.

24 Oct 2013

Quad Rotors for Humanity

Henry Evans of Robots for Humanity and Chad Jenkins of Brown University have been working on the use of Parrot AR.Drone quad rotor helicopters for physically disabled individuals.  During his sabbatical at Willow Garage, Chad created a web interface using rosbridge and ROS for Henry to pilot the drone over the Internet.  Henry used these drones to explore and monitor his home over the Spring and Summer, as shown in the Quad Rotors for Humanity video below.

Since Chad’s return from sabbatical this Fall, Henry regularly pilots drones at Brown (in Rhode Island) from his home 3000 miles away (in California). Henry, Chad, and a number of great collaborators are currently preparing a presentation for TEDxMidAtlantic 2013 describing Henry’s story and role in developing robot interfaces for the disabled.

It is worth noting that the same web interface for driving the AR.Drone can be readily used to drive a PR2 robot. This interoperability is due to the use of rosbridge as a network messaging protocol, allowing robot web apps to work with a variety of different robots.

Code for Quad Rotors for Humanity is available at this repository, and uses rosbridge, mjpeg_server, and ardrone_autonomy ROS packages.

24 Oct 2013

Henry Evans Blog

Over the better part of a year, Henry Evans wrote an extensive blog with his head about his experience in the early days after his stroke:

hevans: June 2006.

24 Oct 2013

Willow Garage

Robots for Humanity: The PR2 as Assistive Robot | Willow Garage.

24 Oct 2013

Healthcare Robotics Lab – Home

Healthcare Robotics Lab – Home.

24 Oct 2013

Brown University Robotics

Chad Jenkins from Brown University Robotics has been working extensively with Henry Evans through the Quad Rotors for Humanity project.

24 Oct 2013


Savioke is a new robotics company dedicated to creating robots to help people.

24 Oct 2013