Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Voice-command wheelchair developed at Coimbra University

30.10.2002


A wheelchair robot developed by scientists at Coimbra University already has a prototype “capable of navigating without colliding with obstacles by commanded human voice”, as professor Urbano Nunes states, the person with joint responsibility, with professor Gabriel Pires, for the team of professors and students of the Electro-technical Engineering Department responsible for the project.

For the last five years this project has been developed and integrated in degree classes and post-graduate courses of this department of the oldest Portuguese university, the “gradual objective” research project was created to facilitate the lives of the dependent elderly and those with major motor skills deficiencies.

Various practical demonstrations have already been done with the wheelchair for interested parties and the media, but at present the project is undergoing some modifications.



Although only a prototype at the development stage and with improvements in the very near future, the Robchair can actually already be sold – of great use for people who have difficulty with their movement: simple voice commands, like “forward”, “backwards”, “to the right” and “to the left” can give great autonomy to the elderly, the infra-red sensors allow mobility without accidents, with no collisions with obstacles, narrow passages or doors.

But the prototype, which uses a common wheelchair moved by electricity, is not only going to be limited by voice commands: the idea is to expand its autonomy giving it the power of decision based on its environment through a controller that uses fuzzy-logic. Communicating with “intelligent” buildings like hospitals, therapy units or centres for the elderly, the chair can get around according to pre-established programme of routes

“We are redoing the control architecture (electronic and communications), to be able to test more developed capabilities: better symbiosis with human beings, greater capacity of autonomous navigation from A to B in indoor environments (from one room to another, for example). We also intend to incorporate autonomous/semi-autonomous navigation capacity in outdoor environments”, Urbano Nunes outlines.

In a scientific article recently published in an international robotic magazine by Gabriel Pires and Urbano Nunes, the last results obtained by the research scientists are described with regard to the “Reactive Shared-Control” system. It is this that makes the semi-autonomous navigation of the wheelchair possible in unknown and dynamic environments.

The objective of the above-mentioned reactive system is to give assistance to wheelchair users, making navigation easier and safer. Little used in traditional information systems, fuzzy logic is however widely used in information networks where speed of decision is fundamental. One of the best-known examples is the system that runs the Tokyo underground. In the case of Robchair, the fuzzy logic helps the taking of decisions based on behaviour and environment.

According to the article, three types of behaviour were implemented: avoiding obstacles intelligently, detection of collision and the capacity of going round or around obstacles.

In this way, the user of the chair and the actual vehicle share movement commands, facilitating the progression of taking some of the weight of responsibility for making decisions each time.

Urbano Nunes | alfa
Further information:
http://www.isr.uc.pt
http://www.isr.uc.pt/~urbano/Robchair.htm

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Waste from paper and pulp industry supplies raw material for development of new redox flow batteries
12.10.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Low-cost battery from waste graphite
11.10.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>