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This paper presents interaction between a user and a smart electric wheelchair. We proposed a personal mobility tool (PMT) which integrates mobile robot navigation with intuitive and non-continuous input from a user. An input interface to enable a user to specify a direction in which he/she wants to go is proposed. Also, to help a user interpret robot behaviors, an output interface to realize informative communication between a user and PMT. In this paper, we introduce a vibrotactile interface to present environmental information from a smart wheelchair to the user. We conducted experiments to study the possibility of the input interface and the output vibrotactile interface. Experimental results of the input interface show the interface can be used by users even if they had not used it before. In the experiments for the vibrotactile interface, users try to detect distance and orientation of obstacles from vibration stimuli. Through the experiments, we found that users could not detect exact orientation of obstacles, but detect a direction of the obstacle movement.
Date of Conference: 7-10 Nov. 2010