Exploring the Utility of Robots in Exposure Studies

TitleExploring the Utility of Robots in Exposure Studies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsFeld-Cook, E, Shome, R, Zaleski, R, Mohan, K, Kourtev, C, Bekris, KE, Weiseil, C, Shin, J
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology (JESEE)

Advancements in robotic technology continue to help expand the use of robots in the workplace, research, and society. In this proof-of-concept study, a robotic platform was programmed to do a simple task, painting drywall, to help determine if robots are a plausible alternative to human subjects in exposure studies. For the exposure component, passive and active air samplers and direct-read monitors were placed by the robot to measure VOCs emitted from the paint and later compared to modeled estimates. A strong correlation of R2 = 0.85- 0.89 was found between increased paint used and increased total VOC air concentrations. Similar trends were observed for all painting trials for the direct read monitors with an overall low VOC air concentration (< 4 ppm), indicating a low exposure profile. Consistent results for the front (60.1 ± 2.5 cm by 77.5 ± 0.85 cm) and sides (60.1 ± 2.5 cm by 60.1 ± 2.9 cm) painted by the robot, the resulting exposure, and the amount of paint used per trial suggest that using a robot to perform an exposure study was successful. This study demonstrated how robots, compared to human subjects, are quicker and reliable way to perform exposure studies.