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A prototype power assist wheelchair that provides for obstacle detection and avoidance for those with visual impairments

Simpson, R and LoPresti, E and Hayashi, S and Guo, S and Ding, D and Ammer, W and Sharma, V and Cooper, R (2005) A prototype power assist wheelchair that provides for obstacle detection and avoidance for those with visual impairments. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 2. ISSN 1743-0003

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Background: Almost 10% of all individuals who are legally blind also have a mobility impairment. The majority of these individuals are dependent on others for mobility. The Smart Power Assistance Module (SPAM) for manual wheelchairs is being developed to provide independent mobility for this population. Methods: A prototype of the SPAM has been developed using Yamaha JWII power assist hubs, sonar and infrared rangefinders, and a microprocessor. The prototype limits the user to moving straight forward, straight backward, or turning in place, and increases the resistance of the wheels based on the proximity of obstacles. The result is haptic feedback to the user regarding the environment surrounding the wheelchair. Results: The prototype has been evaluated with four blindfolded able-bodied users and one individual who is blind but not mobility impaired. For all individuals, the prototype reduced the number of collisions on a simple navigation task. Conclusion: The prototype demonstrates the feasibility of providing navigation assistance to manual wheelchair users, but several shortcomings of the system were identified to be addressed in a second generation prototype. © 2005 Simpson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Simpson, R
LoPresti, E
Hayashi, S
Guo, S
Ding, Ddad5@pitt.eduDAD5
Ammer, W
Sharma, Vvks3@pitt.eduVKS3
Cooper, RRCOOPER@pitt.eduRCOOPER
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Date: 3 October 2005
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Volume: 2
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1186/1743-0003-2-30
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science and Technology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1743-0003
Other ID: NLM PMC1262756
PubMed Central ID: PMC1262756
PubMed ID: 16202136
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2013 20:57
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2019 15:55


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