Semi-autonomous wheelchair system using stereoscopic cameras

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2009, pp. 5068 - 5071
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This paper is concerned with the design and development of a semi-autonomouswheelchair system using stereoscopic cameras to assist hands-free control technologies for severely disabled people. The stereoscopic cameras capture an image from both the left and right cameras, which are then processed with a Sum of Absolute Differences (SAD) correlation algorithm to establish correspondence between image features in the different views of the scene. This is used to produce a stereo disparity image containing information about the depth of objects away from the camera in the image. A geometric projection algorithm is then used to generate a 3- Dimensional (3D) point map, placing pixels of the disparity image in 3D space. This is then converted to a 2-Dimensional (2D) depth map allowing objects in the scene to be viewed and a safe travel path for the wheelchair to be planned and followed based on the user's commands. This assistive technology utilising stereoscopic cameras has the purpose of automated obstacle detection, path planning and following, and collision avoidance during navigation. Experimental results obtained in an indoor environment displayed the effectiveness of this assistive technology.
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