Smart Mind-Controlled Wheelchair Sees and Avoids Obstacles

This particular wheelchair is unique in that it has on-board cameras which can identify and avoid obstacles without the need for any user intervention. The system, being developed by researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, is controlled by the user’s EEG signals. The researchers hope the system will eventually be able to act appropriately in response to various obstacles such as people, doorways, furniture, and hopefully dog poop.

The current brain-machine interface allows for comfortable piloting of the wheelchair, but it remains rudimentary. To compensate for the simple but effective tertiary input (left/right/forward), and to take some of the pressure off the user, a system using artificial intelligence is used. Called “shared control”, two small cameras, situated on each side of the chair, along with image-processing software help avoid obstacles.

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