The smart wheelchair

October 20, 2016, Inderscience Publishers

A wheelchair controller that automatically avoids obstacles and knows when the user is tired or stressed is being developed by researchers in India. Details are described in the International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation.

Naveen Kumar Malik of the Department of Electronics and Communication at Maharishi Dayanand University, in Haryana and V.R. Singh of the National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi, India, explain how they are developing a wheelchair navigation system that incorporates enhanced safety features and warning systems to assist users more effectively than any conventional powered wheelchair. The microcontroller is programmed with an algorithm that has six levels of testing surroundings and the user's voice to make the wheelchair "smart", creating what the team describes as a cognitive wheelchair navigation system.

The system circumvents several of the problems facing users and carers where conventional unpowered or powered wheelchairs are being used, especially by weaker users or users with cognitive impairment. The new microcontroller system endows the smart wheelchair with a collision avoidance and warning system, a system to discern emotional distress or drowsiness in the user and provide a warning of possible problems that might arise in such situations to the user or carer. The smart wheelchair could also monitor user's heart rate, temperature or other vital signs for diagnostic purposes.

The team has now built and demonstrated a prototype of their smart wheelchair controller and hopes to commercialize the system. "The commercial version of the prototyped autonomous wheelchair would reduce the burden on care-giving staff in healthcare industry and improve the quality of life for disabled persons," they conclude.

Explore further: E-wheelchair should weigh less

More information: Naveen Kumar Malik et al, A human inspired cognitive wheelchair navigation system, International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation (2016). DOI: 10.1504/IJHFMS.2016.10000483

Related Stories

E-wheelchair should weigh less

June 27, 2016
Whilst the advantages of a wheelchair with auxiliary drive are self-evident, they do not always outweigh the disadvantages. The weight of the construction can pose a physical burden on a certain group of wheelchair users, ...

Recommended for you

Medicaid work requirements and health savings accounts may impact people's coverage

June 20, 2018
Current experimental approaches in Medicaid programs—including requirements to pay premiums, contribute to health savings accounts, or to work—may lead to unintended consequences for patient coverage and access, such ...

What a pain: The iPad neck plagues women more

June 20, 2018
Is your iPad being a literal pain in the neck?

Introduction of alcohol found to adversely impact fertility rates in hunter-gatherer community

June 19, 2018
Fernando Ramirez Rozzi, a research director with the French National Centre for Scientific Research has found that the introduction of alcohol to a Baka pygmy hunter-gatherer society caused fertility rates to fall. In his ...

Living the high life: How altitude influences bone growth

June 19, 2018
High altitude is a particularly challenging environment—the terrain is physically challenging and the land has a relatively poor crop yield, so food can be sparse. Most importantly, oxygen levels are lower meaning that ...

Risks of cancer and mortality by average lifetime alcohol intake

June 19, 2018
The risk of mortality, and of developing a number of cancers, is lowest in light drinkers consuming an average of less than one drink per day across their lifetime, and the risk of some cancers increases with each additional ...

Bad habits that lead to cancer, chronic disease corrected by simple lifestyle intervention

June 19, 2018
Does this sound like someone you know? He or she spends too much time in front of screens, gets little exercise and eats a diet high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.