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In this paper, we design a new controller for power-assisted wheelchairs. Conventional power-assist controllers only focus on the amplification of the human input force using torque sensor. Our proposed controller does not use a torque sensor but an electromyogram sensor to estimate the driver's intention. We also use a disturbance observer to compensate for the lack of propelling torque information since it is difficult to simply regard the myoelectric signals as propelling torque. Then, we decide assist torque by combining the filtered myoelectric signals and the estimated human torque signal calculated by the disturbance observer. Experimental results show that the proposed power-assist method realizes fast, stable, and smooth acceleration.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2010