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Integrating Human Inputs with Autonomous Behaviors on an Intelligent Wheelchair Platform

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4 Author(s)
Parikh, S.P. ; US Naval Acad., Annapolis, MD ; Grassi, V. ; Kumar, V. ; Okamoto, J.

Nearly five million individuals in the US have limited arm and hand movement, making it difficult or impossible for them to use computers and products with embedded computers, such as wheelchairs, household appliances, office electronic equipment, and robotic aids. Although some current wheelchair systems have embedded computers, they have very little computer control and require precise, low-level control inputs from the user; interfaces are similar to those found in passenger cars. The rider must continuously specify the chair's direction and, in some cases, velocity using a joystick-like device. Unfortunately, many users who could benefit from powered wheelchairs lack these fine motor skills. For instance, those with cerebral palsy might not be able to guide a chair through a narrow opening, such as a doorway, without repeatedly colliding into the sides. These types of physically challenging environments can be frustrating and require a lot of user effort. At the University of Pennsylvania's general robotics, automation, sensing, and perception lab, we developed the smart chair, a smart wheelchair with intelligent controllers that lets people with physical disabilities overcome these difficulties. By outfitting the wheelchair with cameras, a laser range finder, and onboard processing, we give the user an adaptable, intelligent control system. A computer-controlled wheelchair's shared control framework allows users complete control of the chair while ensuring their safety

Published in:

Intelligent Systems, IEEE  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 2 )