Researchers at Rensselaer created a robotic assistant that is more versatile, cheaper, and which can be remotely controllable by anyone whose mobility is impaired. The disclosed robotic assistant generally comprises a motorized base and dual arm robot mounted thereon. The robotic assistant is designed to be utilized by mobility impaired individuals through a sip-and-blow interface, tongue command device, eye/blink tracker, a joystick, etc., to, e.g., command the motion of the assistant to pick up objects from floor or shelf, to inspect suspicious noise, etc. The assistive robot can also serve as a surrogate for medical staff/caregivers at a remote location, e.g., via the Internet, to inspect and examine the individual through vision and touch (with possible haptic feedback) and deployment of different biometric sensors such as thermometer, stethoscope, oximetry, ophthalmoscope, etc. Sensors (e.g., vision, proximity, touch) on the robotic assistant may be used to provide feedback to the user to facilitate task execution (e.g., warning signal for impending collision, etc.). The multi-arm feature of the platform may also be used in a social companion/assistant context, to encourage exercise, play games, etc. The platform may be connected to the Internet to allow remote operation by medical staff/caregivers to inspect/examine/interact with a patient from remote surroundings. Through the distributed software architecture, the platform may be integrated into sensors/actuators in the user environment (e.g., a smart home) as a mobile sensor for home lighting, HVAC, and security systems.