Category: Powered Wheelchair Alternative

Self-Navigating Wheelchair

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---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To create a prototype of a self-navigating wheelchair for individuals with disabilities. MIT researchers have been working on a self-navigating wheelchair prototype that can learn the geography around it through simple voice commands, and then travel around using the map created within its computer brain. The self-navigating wheelchair relies on a WiFi system to make its maps and then navigate through them, and requires setting up a network of WiFi nodes around the facility in advance. Previous attempts at programming wheelchairs or other mobile devices have relayed on intensive processes of manually capturing a detailed map of the building. However, the MIT system can learn about its environment in much the same way a person would. The self-navigating wheelchair is taken around once on a guided tour with important places indentified along the way. For example, as the wheelchair is pushed around the nursing home for the first time, the patient or caretaker would say: “this is my room” or “here we are in the foyer” or “nurse’s station”. MIT researchers are further exploring the use of WiFi signals, as well as wide-field cameras and laser rangefinders, coupled to computer systems that can construct and localized within an internal map of the environment while moving around. TITLE: A Wheelchair with Ears and Brain. WEBSITE: medGadget. REF:


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