RAID is "Redundant Array of Independent Disk" in the acronym, redundant disk array technology was born in 1987, by the proposed University of California, Berkeley. Simply explained, is to drive through the N sets RAID Controller (sub-Hardware, Software) combined into a single virtual hard disk capacity use at National Taiwan University. The use of RAID for the storage system (or the server's built-in storage) bring great benefits, which improve the transmission rate and the provision of fault tolerance is the greatest advantage.

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                                     Tim Jones
                            Technical Director, OxIM Ltd
                       12 Kings Meadow, Oxford OX2 0DP, England
                                 Tel: +44 1865 204881

1.     Introduction                             to handle papers, books, disks and
                                                CD ROM’s, files, refreshments etc.
RAID - Robot for Assisting the                  Originally conceived as a natural
Integration of the Disabled - is a              extension of many year’s work on
system for allowing a handicapped               the MASTER project at CEA-STR,
person to operate independently of a            Fontenay-aux-Roses, France, the
human carer for periods up to 4 hours           development of the first three
in the office and home environment. It          prototypes was undertaken by a
is designed for those with full mental          European consortium with 50%
faculties     but    severe    physical         support from the EC’s TIDE
disabilities, whether traumatic or              programme.
congenital in origin, and allows them

Figure 1. The RAID workstation under development at Lund University

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The development programme led to a          communicate with a PC.            These
two-year period of clinical trials with     include joysticks, detectors for chin
some hundreds of quadriplegic users,        and eye movement, and puff sensors.
funded and conducted by APPROCHE            The aim of RAID is to enable such
(Association pour la Promotion des          people to control the movement of
Plates-formes RObotisée en faveur des       objects in the physical world - both in
personnes        HandicappéEs),       an    an office environment, and also in a
independent syndicate in France             domestic setting. The goal is to enable
comprising       doctors,     therapists,   severely disabled users to be
disability centres, insurance companies     independent for at least four-hours at a
and Government agencies responsible         time, without intervention from a
for handicapped persons.                    human carer.

Five complete workstations were             The EC’s TIDE (Telematics Initiative
ordered by APPROCHE (with another           for the Disabled and Elderly) program
for the CEA) for this evaluation.           supported two important phases of the
These were constructed by OxIM, who         MASTER-RAID development from
had acquired sole exploitation rights       1992 - 1996, in projects called RAID
from the consortium. In clinical trials     and EPI-RAID respectively, with total
RAID proved to be a versatile product,      support from
popular with its disabled users, but        DG XIII of some 1.9Mecu. The
requiring additional design work to         collaboration included groups from:-
eliminate problems of inadequate
reliability, to reduce its physical size,   France: CEA, Service Téléoperation
and improve visibility.                             et Robotique.
                                            UK:     Oxford Intelligent Machines
OxIM has attempted to secure risk                   (OxIM), Armstrong Projects
capital to complete the design and                  Ltd, and
proceed to a production launch, but so              CambridgeUniversity.
far has failed to secure investment for     Sweden: Rehabcentrum Lund-Orup,
this project nor has it identified an               DPME, HADAR,CERTEC,
appropriate Venture Partner with the                and Lund University.
appropriate marketing capabilities.
                                         An exploitation agreement between the
2.     The RAID Project: Adapting        EPI-RAID partners gave OxIM
the Office to the needs of               exclusive marketing rights for RAID,
Quadriplegics.                           as well as a licence to use the CEA’s
                                         MASTER software, in exchange for
There is a wide variety of existing      royalties on total net sales of all units
devices for enabling people with         after those required for the clinical
particular physical disabilities to      trials.
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In 1994 APPROCHE, through the                 (featured above in figure 1) and, to a
inspiration of its Director Dr M.             lesser extent at the Bradbury
Busnel, enabled the next phase to             Progression Centre, Papworth, UK.
begin. APPROCHE raised sufficient             By the end of the trials in July 1997,
funding from its members and from             some hundreds of handicapped users
Government for the purchase of 5              had been introduced to RAID
OxIM RAID stations and their                  workstations. At least 45 different
evaluation for 12 months in each of 10        tasks had been tried, mainly for office
co-operating       disability    centres      activities but also many for domestic
distributed throughout France. By July        life and leisure activity, ranging from
1995 the 5 stations had been                  handling books, papers ( See figure 2
delivered, and had passed acceptance          below) and disks to operating a
tests witnessed by CEA as Project             microwave (without adaptations) and a
Engineers, at the first 5 selected            tape recorder. Comments from users
Centres. By June 1996 the stations had        were highly encouraging, and the
been used extensively by some 45              power of the robot workstation was
handicapped people. Their disabilities        appreciated not only in relation to its
were mostly C3 to C8 spinal column            functions in the office and at work, but
injuries (24) followed by 8 victims of        also for leisure use. Always it was the
neuromuscular disease such as                 element of increased independence that
Duchenne’s syndrome, 6 patients with          was most valued, allowing the use of
progressive disease of the nervous            human carers more for companionship
system such as multiple sclerosis, 5          and support, and less for mere physical
with disease of the spinal column and         assistance.
cerebral cortex, and two with severe
head injuries. Altogether some 58%            Unfortunately the trials were affected
had suffered traumatic injury - mainly        by certain reliability problems with
road accidents - and 42% disease. The         RAID. These ranged from recurrent
stations were then relocated by OxIM          minor problems with the robot’s
staff at the second set of 5 centres and      control and end-effectors, particularly
the evaluation continued.                     the one used for handling papers, to
                                              unexpectedly frequent problems with
In parallel with this, clinical trials on     the PC’s running the MASTER
the EPI-RAID stations continued at the        software.
Rehabcentrum Lund-Orup in Sweden

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Figure 2. The RAID page turner under clinical trials at Bradbury Progression Centre,
Papworth, UK
Diagnosis and cure of these problems        feedback obtained from the user trials
was made difficult and slow by the fact     in France, Sweden and UK. OxIM is
that the system is relatively complex,      also defining a strategy for the
and that several major components           marketing of a simplified more
were designed by different members of       compact RAID workstation.
the original collaboration. The
conclusion from these trials is that the    Technical
RAID system has a commercial future
if the technical issues raised are          The product has to be developed so
successfully addressed.                     that it is fit for purpose. It has to be
                                            Reliable and provide the functionality
3.     Route to Market.                     required by the users at an affordable
                                            cost. It must also be easily
Further work is required both on the        configurable, easy to maintain and re-
technical and commercial aspects of         programmable without the need for
marketing RAID. OxIM has prepared a         highly trained individuals. It must also
business plan for the elimination of the    be compatible with the users
remaining defects, based on the             environment, that is, a sensible size

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and discreet (not noisy) with clear user    later to individuals and support
visibility of the vital elements in the     agencies. The market forecast shows
system.                                     some 2,500,000 individuals in Europe
                                            of employable age, in disablement
The key to achieving much of this is to     categories 6-9 (representing those with
simplify the system, to make it more        disabilities relevant to potential use of
compact and to make it more                 RAID). Allowing for a Eurostat
accessible particularly in respect of the   estimate of 95% of these being
software. The exact details of how this     unwilling to work, and the inevitable
will be achieved will be revealed in        difficulty for individuals in securing
due course.                                 funding, OxIM believes there is the
                                            potential to sell at least 1,000 units in
Commercial                                  Europe, and possibly ten times this
                                            amount. Similar figures apply to the
The benefits of the workstation have to     USA. The challenge is to open up this
be sold to:                                 difficult new market.

The users - who must believe that the       The projected cost of a RAID station
system will be of real benefit to them.     varies according to the complexity of
The Clinicians - who will specify the       the configuration required, but at 1997
system for the users.                       prices was about $50,000. Given the
The funding agencies - Government           right investment this will fall due to the
organisations, Insurance companies,         simplification of the system, and could
Charities etc.                              dramatically reduce with reasonable
Investors / Joint venture partners - to     manufacturing batch sizes. An end user
enable the development to occur.            price under $30,000 is entirely feasible
                                            given      the     right     commercial
There is a strong financial case for the    circumstances. The capital cost then
use of RAID based on the savings that       becomes comparable with certain other
can be realised in carer costs.             aids for the handicapped - e.g.
Unfortunately the agencies that pay for     specially converted cars.
capital equipment are often not the
same agencies that pay for care. Some       4.    The Way Forward
creativity will be required in these
instances (perhaps through leasing          There is clear potential for the RAID
arrangements) so that the savings           concept, but investment is required to
realised can provide an incentive to        take RAID forward. OxIM is still
purchase.                                   exploring potential avenues for
                                            achieving this and in the meantime is
Sales would be targeted firstly to the      concentrating on keeping RAID in the
80 assessment centres in the EU and         public eye. OxIM believes that RAID
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has a future and is committed to
developing it further. What is required
is a source of venture capital willing to
accept the unusual mix of risks needed
to take RAID through to production

For more information:-

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