Friday, September 24, 2010

Brain Controlled Wheelchair Equipped With AI

They are certainly not first to try their hand at a brain-controlled wheelchair, but some researchers at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (or EPFL) in Switzerland seem to have pulled off a few new tricks with their latest project. Like some similar systems, this one relies on EEG readings to detect specific brain patterns, but it backs that up with some artificial intelligence, allowing for "shared control" of the wheelchair. That latter component is aided by a pair of cameras and some image processing software that allows the wheelchair to avoid obstacles, but it does not stop there: the software is capable of distinguishing different types of objects. According to the researchers, that could let it go around a cabinet but pull up underneath a desk, for instance, or potentially even recognize the person's own desk and avoid others.  Check out the Youtube clip above.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Chair That Can Follow People

Researchers at Saitama University's Human-Robot Interaction Center have developed a wheelchair equipped with a camera and a laser sensor that locks onto a nearby human companion and follows them around. It can even anticipate the direction the person is going to go by using a distance sensor to check which way their shoulders are facing. There is no news as to when a commercial version will be available, but the wheelchair is already being field-tested in care centers, where the researchers say it could be particularly useful if the facilities are short-staffed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wheelchair Controlled Using Wii Balance Board

The Ithaca College Tots on Bots project aims to mobilize infants with physical disabilities by setting them atop a "mobile robot" equipped with a Wii Balance Board to let the young operator steer by leaning which, it turns out, works quite effectively. Additionally, the vehicle uses sonar to avoid nasty crashes and a remote control that an adult can use to take control. Further study has to be made before any long term developmental benefits can be ascertained, but in the meantime it does look like a lot of fun.  Watch another clip after the jump.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Aaron Fotheringham's Bible Flip

What is better than a wheelchair backflip?  How about a DOUBLE wheelchair backflip!  Aaron Fotheringham has managed, with much difficultly, to successfully perform a double backflip in his wheelchair.  It is a trick that is difficult enough for the Hardcore Sitter to nickname it the "Bible Flip" since it "takes a whole lot of faith to throw a double."  Enjoy the clip!