Enables Navigation Without a Joystick
Technology really is amazing. According to a story at BusinessInsider.com, a disability foundation in Barcelona, Spain has invented a smart wheelchair that enables severely disabled children to get around and “better explore their surroundings.” The chair, which is moved by voice command, head movement, and sucking on a pacifier, was created for children without the necessary motor skills to use a joystick-operated chair.
The prototype, created by the Nexe foundation, a school for children with multiple disabilities, was built with “3D technology sensors that detect obstacles, decide how to move in the space and send information about the distance to the closest object. An IT program controls the computer board that decides, based on the sensor’s data, which way to go. The chair can be activated by any part of the child’s body thanks to a simple jack and switch. In addition, a Java Android tablet application allows the chair to be controlled by a tablet.
The low-cost smart wheelchair prototype was created by a team of 16 people – eight professionals and eight relatives of disabled children – for only 400 euros. The wheelchair comes free of copyright and has online instructions that are distributed for free to anyone who wants to build one. The foundation also offers workshops to teach families how to build the chairs which can be tailor-made for the child depending on his or her motor and cognitive abilities, height and weight, and comfort requirements.
View a YouTube Video on the Smart Wheelchair by clicking here.
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