Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Successful first test drive of 'sighted' wheelchair

Date:
May 16, 2011
Source:
Luleå University of Technology
Summary:
Research on an electric wheelchair that can sense it's environment and transmit information to a person who is visually impaired, has just been tested. One of the researchers, himself visually impaired, made the first public test.

Prospective PhD-student at LTU Daniel Innala Ahlmark is testing the "sighted" weelchair before a large press corps.
Credit: Image courtesy of Luleå University of Technology

Research on an electric wheelchair that can sense it´s environment and transmit information to a person who is visually impaired, has been tested at Luleå University of Technology. Daniel Innala Ahlmark, a prospective graduate student in the research project, and himself visually impaired, dared to make the first public test.

Related Articles


The wheelchair has a joystick for steering and a haptic robot that acts as a virtual white cane. With the help of a laser scanner a simplified 3D map is created of the wheelchair surroundings. The laser scanner uses Time-of-flight technique. The 3D map is transferred to the haptic robot so that a visually impaired wheelchair driver can "feel or see" obstacles such as open doors or oncoming people, and navigate past them.

The "sighted" wheelchair has been developed by Kalevi Hyyppä, a professor at Luleå University of Technology and his research team at the LTU division EISLAB. The other members of the research team are prospective Ph.D. student Daniel Innala Ahlmark, assistant professor Håkan Fredriksson and Ph.D. student Fredrik Broström.

"This may be important aids for the visually impaired who are wheelchair users. Many have already been in touch with me and asked if they can come for a test drive," says Kalevi Hyyppä.

The first test of the "sighted" wheelchair for an audience was carried out in one of the corridors of the Department of Computer Science, Electrical- and Space Engineering at Luleå University of Technology.

There are several classrooms in the corridor, which means that students often pass there. For those who are visually impaired or blind, it is quite a changing environment to move in. Daniel Innala Ahlmark, who is visually impaired, dared to test the wheelchair while explaining how he experienced it -- and he did so before the entire local and even national media in Sweden.

"I feel safe when I run it, it is like using a white cane," he said as he avoided various obstacles along the corridor.

There is much left when it comes to improving the 3D sensor and the haptic robot. The laser beam that sweeps in front of the wheelchair hits only objects which are a certain height. It has not the capacity to see things that are higher or lower than that height. Now the research team plan to develop a 3D camera that can do a full 3D measurement. Then the sighted wheelchair can be manufactured and used for real. This might be possible in approximately five years.

Research on the sighted wheelchair has been made with funding from the European Regional Structural Fund Northern Sweden.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Luleå University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Luleå University of Technology. "Successful first test drive of 'sighted' wheelchair." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110512110851.htm>.
Luleå University of Technology. (2011, May 16). Successful first test drive of 'sighted' wheelchair. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110512110851.htm
Luleå University of Technology. "Successful first test drive of 'sighted' wheelchair." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110512110851.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins