Smart Wheelchairs: Using Robotics to Bridge the Gap between Prototypes and Cost-effective Set-ups

Matthew Aquilina, Marvin Bugeja, Simon Fabri

Abstract

Wheelchairs have improved the lives of many people with limited mobility. Yet, to this day, conventional wheelchairs are still not a viable option for mobility independence in cases of people with severe weakness or poor coordination e.g. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Smart wheelchairs (SWs) overcome many of these limitations by adding an extra layer of intelligence to the system. SWs have so far remained mostly inaccessible to the general public, due to a limited market presence and steep costs. This paper thus presents the design and implementation of a novel SW which makes the upgrade of a commercially available motorised wheelchair to a SW a much simpler process. The system is a complete implementation offering low-level hardware control, a specialised ROS architecture and autonomous navigation algorithms allowing shared user control or fully-autonomous movement. Contrary to most other published works, the focus of this paper is to implement a fully-featured working prototype with minimal hardware complexity and an efficient modular software development environment. Initial practical tests in typical use scenarios showcased the successful operation of the complete system. The developed prototype SW has the potential to restore autonomy to people who are unable to use conventional or powered wheelchairs.

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Paper Citation


in Harvard Style

Aquilina M., Bugeja M. and Fabri S. (2019). Smart Wheelchairs: Using Robotics to Bridge the Gap between Prototypes and Cost-effective Set-ups.In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics - Volume 2: ICINCO, ISBN 978-989-758-380-3, pages 181-189. DOI: 10.5220/0007796801810189


in Bibtex Style

@conference{icinco19,
author={Matthew Aquilina and Marvin Bugeja and Simon Fabri},
title={Smart Wheelchairs: Using Robotics to Bridge the Gap between Prototypes and Cost-effective Set-ups},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics - Volume 2: ICINCO,},
year={2019},
pages={181-189},
publisher={SciTePress},
organization={INSTICC},
doi={10.5220/0007796801810189},
isbn={978-989-758-380-3},
}


in EndNote Style

TY - CONF

JO - Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics - Volume 2: ICINCO,
TI - Smart Wheelchairs: Using Robotics to Bridge the Gap between Prototypes and Cost-effective Set-ups
SN - 978-989-758-380-3
AU - Aquilina M.
AU - Bugeja M.
AU - Fabri S.
PY - 2019
SP - 181
EP - 189
DO - 10.5220/0007796801810189