Artificial intelligence-based wheelchair that can be controlled with expressions? Read more
January 12, 2019
Wheelchairs are mobility devices that enable people to move around. They are vital for people who cannot walk on their own, giving them freedom and independence.
Wheelchairs come in various designs options, from simple hand driven ones to motorized and advanced wheelchairs. Designers are constantly looking at ways to make them as accessible as possible.
The motorized version can be controlled usually with a joystick or sensors that are connected to the body of the user. For some people with very limited ability to move limbs this complicated tool operating option is not convenient at all.
Their lives could become much easier, now that artificial intelligence (AI) could open doors to people moving their wheelchairs using facial expressions.
Sounds impossible? Well, the technology to make this happen is being developed by Brazil-based companyHoobox Robotics. It has teamed up with technology company Intel to create Wheelie 7. Wheelie 7 is a kit based on artificial intelligence that allows a person to move the wheelchair using 10 facial expressions.
These expressions involve moving the eyebrows, a full smile, half smile, blowing a kiss, sticking out the tongue, blowing cheeks, chin movement, and wrinkling the face. These expressions of a user can be fed to the kit and are then linked to the wheelchair movements via an app. The kit can be installed in just seven minutes and it is ready for use.
How will this help change the lives of wheelchair users? Newz Hook spoke to a few of them to find out. Dr Riitesh Sinha, an innovator and writer with cerebral palsy, believes this technology can be a life changer for people with disabilities.
"There are many situations where only facial expressions/eyes retain movement and the person loses control over the rest of his body. Even when the brain is functioning absolutely fine. This AI- wheelchair will be a disruptive product for sure and breathe in life-giving oxygen for people who are locked forever by their disabilities."
Dr Sinha adds that for the product to benefit the maximum possible people, it must be affordable. "I am extremely happy to see such products being tested. When a person moves, he exists. A bedridden life is really difficult. What will need to be seen is the control because facial movements might not be very pointed and accurate. Also, the product needs to be scalable so it is affordable and has the maximum reach."
The wheelchair can be of immense assistance to people with spinal injuries and those with very restricted physical movements. It is currently being tested by 60 wheelchair users in the United States, including quadriplegics, senior citizens and people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS.
The best feature of the Wheelie 7 kit is that it is compatible with most of the motorized wheelchairs that are currently available.
The creation is above the sky, but there is one issue when it comes to using it in a country like India because the person will be looking at the sensor and if he or she is outdoors and we look at the sensor for movement, cars can yet bang you! We need an innovation first for people so they follow the rules and become friendly towards #differentlynormal people! But if it's used just for indoor use, it's perfect. - Karan S Shahh, Canine Trainer-Behaviourist
Clearly, its early days yet for this innovative tech but what is heartening to see is the work being done towards developing more and more accessible assistive technologies so people with disabilities can lead independent lives.
Watch in Sign Language
- #TechThursdays - Augmenta11y, an app developed by students, helps children with dyslexia read better
May 23, 2019
- Reserve Bank of India suggests app to help visually impaired people identify rupee notes
May 15, 2019
- Google's Android Q to introduce Live Captions and Subtitles to all types of content
May 14, 2019
Read more on Newz Hook
- Headlines May 19, 2019 Seventh & final phase of voting in general elections today
- Headlines May 17, 2019 PM promises to build statue of reformer Vidyasagar
- Accessibility May 16, 2019 Game changing innovations that enable inclusion - Global Accessibility Awareness Day special
- Accessibility May 20, 2019 Goa election officials, NGOs come together to conduct accessibility audit of polling booths
- Get-hooked May 18, 2019 Parenting Corner - Feeling Guilty
- Get-hooked May 19, 2019 #BeingMom - Vinayana Khurana's creative side was enhanced by mother Neerja
- Technology May 23, 2019 #TechThursdays - Augmenta11y, an app developed by students, helps children with dyslexia read better
- Get-hooked May 20, 2019 'Follow your heart, not your brain to find success' - Guest column by Neelu Jindal
- Headlines May 17, 2019 Sadhvi Pragya apologizes for Godse comments
- Get-hooked May 21, 2019 Music knows no boundaries so why barriers at concert venues, ask disabled music lovers
Want to feature your inspiring story or share an event with the disabled community? Write to:
Newz Hook - Accessible News