Semi-autonomous wheelchair developed using a unique camera system configuration biologically inspired by equine vision

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
33rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2011, pp. 5762 - 5765
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This paper is concerned with the design and development of a semi-autonomous wheelchair system using cameras in a system configuration modeled on the vision system of a horse. This new camera configuration utilizes stereoscopic vision for 3-Dimensional (3D) depth perception and mapping ahead of the wheelchair, combined with a spherical camera system for 360-degrees of monocular vision. This unique combination allows for static components of an unknown environment to be mapped and any surrounding dynamic obstacles to be detected, during real-time autonomous navigation, minimizing blind-spots and preventing accidental collisions with people or obstacles. This novel vision system combined with shared control strategies provides intelligent assistive guidance during wheelchair navigation and can accompany any hands-free wheelchair control technology. Leading up to experimental trials with patients at the Royal Rehabilitation Centre (RRC) in Ryde, results have displayed the effectiveness of this system to assist the user in navigating safely within the RRC whilst avoiding potential collisions.
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