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Rover, a Sm@rt Wheelchair
Developing a robotic prototype for controlling the movement of an electric wheelchair, only with head movements.
Publisher: T³ Europe
Editor: Ian Galloway, Christine Buerki
Author: Alexandre Gomes
Topic: Mathematics , STEM
Tags SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities , SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production , SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being , Coding , Sustainability
This project consists in developing a robotic prototype for controlling the movement of an electric wheelchair, only with head movements. This is especially relevant for people who can only move their head in a controlled way, due to a tetraplegia or similar condition.
Despite there are already some commercial systems designed for this situation, they have significant disadvantages, namely in terms of technological complexity (and consequently high prices), or because they require the use of any kind of accessory (e.g. helmet, glasses, objects inserted in the mouth, among others), much more intrusive and uncomfortable for the user. In addition, these devices generally involve specific eye movements, face expressions or voice commands, which are usually complex to learn and to use.
The device proposed in this project transforms smooth head movements into controlled motion direction situations. The wheelchair will be simulated by the use of a programmable robotic vehicle (TI-Innovator ROVER), so its extrapolation to the full-scale model is extremely simple, by simply using relays to connect the control unit to each of the electric motor of wheelchair wheels.
This project will involve several STEM dimensions as well as SDG’s, with very simple configuration and use of programable systems, being for that a very interesting first project for everyone. Despite that simple approach, it is also possible to further develop of the proposed configuration, giving the possibility to the exploration by some more experienced users.