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  1. An ongoing nurse labor shortage has the potential to impact patient care well-being in the entire healthcare system. Moreover, more complex and sophisticated nursing care is required today for patients in hospitals forcing hospital-based nurses to carry out frequent training and assessment procedures, both to onboard new nurses and to validate skills of existing staff that guarantees best practices and safety. In this paper, we recognize an opportunity for the development and integration of intelligent robot tutoring technology into nursing education to tackle the growing challenges of nurse deficit. To this end, we identify specific research problems in the area of human-robot interaction that will need to be addressed to enable robot tutors for nurse training. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 28, 2024
  2. null (Ed.)
    Earlier work has shown that reusing experience from prior motion planning problems can improve the efficiency of similar, future motion planning queries. However, for robots with many degrees-of-freedom, these methods exhibit poor generalization across different environments and often require large datasets that are impractical to gather. We present SPARK and FLAME, two experience-based frameworks for sampling-based planning applicable to complex manipulators in 3D environments. Both combine samplers associated with features from a workspace decomposition into a global biased sampling distribution. SPARK decomposes the environment based on exact geometry while FLAME is more general, and uses an octree-based decomposition obtained from sensor data. We demonstrate the effectiveness of SPARK and FLAME on a real and simulated Fetch robot tasked with challenging pick-and-place manipulation problems. Our approaches can be trained incrementally and significantly improve performance with only a handful of examples, generalizing better over diverse tasks and environments as compared to prior approaches. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Motion planning for high degree-of-freedom (DOF) robots is challenging, especially when acting in complex environments under sensing uncertainty. While there is significant work on how to plan under state uncertainty for low-DOF robots, existing methods cannot be easily translated into the high-DOF case, due to the complex geometry of the robot’s body and its environment. In this paper, we present a method that enhances optimization-based motion planners to produce robust trajectories for high-DOF robots for convex obstacles. Our approach introduces robustness into planners that are based on sequential convex programming: We reformulate each convex subproblem as a robust optimization problem that “protects” the solution against deviations due to sensing uncertainty. The parameters of the robust problem are estimated by sampling from the distribution of noisy obstacles, and performing a first-order approximation of the signed distance function. The original merit function is updated to account for the new costs of the robust formulation at every step. The effectiveness of our approach is demonstrated on two simulated experiments that involve a full body square robot, that moves in randomly generated scenes, and a 7-DOF Fetch robot, performing tabletop operations. The results show nearly zero probability of collision for a reasonable range of the noise parameters for Gaussian and Uniform uncertainty. 
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