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Anti-collision systems have been developed for use with powered wheelchairs in order to enable people with cognitive or physical impairments to safely operate a powered wheelchair. Anti-collision systems consist of sensors that have the ability to detect objects near the wheelchair and a computer that can stop the chair if a collision is determined to be likely. This investigation considered the suitability of using ultrasound sensors in such a system when encountering objects typically found within a home or a long-term care facility. An ultrasound sensor's ability to detect an object was dependent on the object's size, shape, specularity, reflectivity, and sound absorption characteristics. Ultrasound sensors, by themselves, were found to be unsuitable for anti-collision systems due to an inability to detect objects commonly encountered in the target environment (the home or long-term care facility) without increasing the complexity of the system to such a degree that it would be prohibitive to deploy this technology to the public.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:13 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: March 2005