Greater independence for wheelchair users with digital sensor systemService Engineering
Researchers at Portsmouth University and the Chailey Heritage Foundation are developing a digital sensor system for powered wheelchairs which can be fitted to existing wheelchairs to minimise costs. The system will use artificial intelligence to interpret hand movements and tremors, learn how well a particular user can drive, and adapt the level of influence on the motion of the wheelchair it needs to have depending on how skilled they are as a driver or how tired they become.
The sensors will be connected to low-cost microcomputers equipped with AI software, and around three different artificial intelligence systems will be required to suggest a course of action, such as stop, start and turn, and a Decision Making System will decide which of these suggestions to follow, based on information from the sensors and the needs of the driver.
“Researchers at Portsmouth University and the Chailey Heritage Foundation are developing a digital sensor system for powered wheelchairs. “
Dr David Sanders, joint project lead, said: “The system can automatically adjust itself for the child that is driving the wheelchair, so for example, if the system knows, or very quickly learns, that a particular child is blind and has very little spatial awareness, then it can adjust itself to assist them in the best possible way. We will have a decision making system that sits above the AI systems, to decide which opinion is more valuable, and what are the risks of one over another.”