Smart Wheelchairs Adjust Driving to Local Terrain

Researchers from Florida State University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University are working on putting some smarts into powered wheelchairs. As each terrain has its own characteristics, the current technology in motorized wheelchairs does not take it into account. Take the problem of sand, for example. In order to navigate on sand, wheels need to rotate slowly but with high torque, and no sharp turns are possible. But today’s user has a dumb power controller, and torque levels and turning angles of the wheels are uncompensated. Here’s a principal engineer describing the project’s goals to solve some of these problems:

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