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One touch directs a robotic arm to grab objects in a new computer program designed to give people in wheelchairs more independence.

University of Central Florida researchers thought the ease of the using the program’s automatic mode would be a huge hit. But they were wrong – many participants in a pilot study didn’t like it because it was “too easy.”

Most participants preferred the manual mode, which requires them to think several steps ahead and either physically type in instructions or verbally direct the arm with a series of precise commands. They favored the manual mode even though they did not perform tasks as well with it.

“We focused so much on getting the technology right,” said Assistant Professor Aman Behal. “We didn’t expect this.

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