Departmental Papers (ESE)




For children with mobility impairments, without cognitive delays, who want to participate in outdoor activities, existing assistive technology (AT) to support their needs is limited. In this review, we investigate the control and design of a selection of robotic walkers while exploring a selection of legged robots to develop solutions that address this gap in robotic AT.


We performed a comprehensive literature search from four main databases: PubMed, Google Scholar, Scopus, and IEEE Xplore. The keywords used in the search were the following: “walker”, “rollator”, “smart walker”, “robotic walker”, “robotic rollator”. Studies were required to discuss the control or design of robotic walkers to be considered. A total of 159 papers were analyzed.


From the 159 papers, 127 were excluded since they failed to meet our inclusion criteria. The total number of papers analyzed included publications that utilized the same device, therefore we classified the remaining 32 studies into groups based on the type of robotic walker used. This paper reviewed 15 different types of robotic walkers.


The ability of many-legged robots to negotiate and transition between a range of unstructured substrates suggests several avenues of future consideration whose pursuit could benefit robotic AT, particularly regarding the present limitations of wheeled paediatric robotic walkers for children’s daily outside use.

For more information: Kod*lab (link to

Sponsor Acknowledgements

We thank the National Science Foundation (NSF) for supporting the first author through a Graduate Research Fellowship award. This research was also sponsored in part by departmental funds from the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department of the University of Pennsylvania. This research was also supported in part by ONR grant [N00014-16-1-2817], a Vannevar Bush Fellowship held by DK, sponsored by the Basic Research Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

Document Type


Subject Area

GRASP, Kodlab

Date of this Version


Publication Source


Start Page


Last Page



Copyright/Permission Statement

This article has been accepted for publication in Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, published by Taylor & Francis.


Assistive technology, robotics, mobility, pediatric rehabilitation, walker, rollator, smart walker

Bib Tex

@article{doi:10.1080/17483107.2021.1926563, author = {Abriana Stewart-Height and Daniel E. Koditschek and Michelle J. Johnson}, title = {Reimagining robotic walkers for real-world outdoor play environments with insights from legged robots: a scoping review}, journal = {Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology}, volume = {0}, number = {0}, pages = {1-21}, year = {2021}, publisher = {Taylor & Francis}, doi = {10.1080/17483107.2021.1926563}, note ={PMID: 34087079},

URL = { }, eprint = { }




Date Posted: 31 January 2022

This document has been peer reviewed.