Wheelchairs have been designed to help those who have difficulty moving around. Scientists are leveraging the power of AI and ultra-modern tech to come up with the unique solutions to aid movement. Wheelchairs can be moved with facial expressions, and other sensor tech, making it easier for differently abled people, who are paralyzed from the neck down, to move around. There are many different types of innovative wheelchair solutions in 2019. Check them out:
Best innovative wheelchair solutions for 2019
Hoobox, the Brazilian robotics company released a unique design wheelchair named the Wheelie 7. This AI wheelchair uses a camera and AI to gain motion with the help of facial expressions. The wheelchair is so sensitive that it does not require any body sensors (invasive). This gives the user control and independence to choose their locations.
There are over 60 people based in the US which are currently testing Wheelie 7 – they are quadriplegics, people who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and senior citizens. The AI powered chair has been appreciated by many, being an example of how AI can be used to empower those who have limited mobility.
Dr Pinheiro, the CEO and cofounder of HOOBOX Robotics, claims that one of the most innovative wheelchair solutions Wheelie 7 is the first wheelchair in the world to utilize facial expressions to control the movement of a wheelchair. The accuracy and precision required to achieve this was possible due to Intel technology.
The installation of the Wheelie 7 kit can be done in a very short time, only 7 minutes. The main functions of the chair are turning, moving forward and stopping. The 3D Intel® RealSense™ Depth Camera SR300 which is mounted on the chair streams data which the AI processes in real time and controls the chair. As the responses are required immediately, HOOBOX used Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ Toolkit as well Intel Processors to speed up facial recognition software’s inferencing.
Wheelie and other innovative wheelchair solutions can have a positive impact on the quality of life of people who have spinal cord injuries. Interestingly, people can select their own expressions to move or stop or turn the chair, which makes it fun for them. Winks, raised brows, kisses and smiles are the indications for the chair to respond.
Phoenix AI Wheelchair – Phoenix Instinct
The unique design of the Phoenix AI wheelchair is possible due to the ultra-light carbon fiber used to manufacture it. The wheelchair uses smart sensors which helps it to configure itself, depending on the actions of the person sitting on the wheelchair. The chair can configure itself based on the movements of the person, for example, it will lean back if the user is leaning forward at a dangerous angle.
The Phoenix chair, one of the innovative wheelchair solutions, can continuously adjust its centre-of-gravity which makes it far easier to move – turn by removing the drag and making the motion much more smooth than regular wheelchairs. The AI wheelchair provides power assistance while scaling slopes, automatic brakes which eliminate the need for user to grab the wheels in order to slow down.
The aim of the Phoenix is to make use of artificial intelligence to enable an easier time in the wheelchair.
QOLO or Quality of Life with Locomotion is being developed by Team Qolo. It’s a mobile exoskeleton which is lightweight and comfortable. It can be used as a regular wheelchair or it can be used as an artificial skeleton, helping them to stand with support for the lower and upper body.
Once the user is standing, then he/she can travel around while standing, and the developers claim that this amazing wheelchair will bring about a major change in the social as well as physiological aspects of daily life.
This is one of the most innovative wheelchair solutions, which would allow people to stand or sit, according to their wish. The use of cutting edge tech helps to open up the life of people bound to their wheelchairs. With its help, they could interact with people at eye-level. It would completely change their perspective of the world.
Environmentally friendly wheelchair
Rebecca Jones, a student of the Ara Institute, is studying to be a mechanical engineer. Her passion is to help others in the word. She has made a prototype environmentally friendly wheelchair as her final year project, out of products which are easily available in India and other developing countries. This wheelchair and others such as this one, made out of recycled materials, can make wheelchairs affordable for those who are economically challenged.
The Quix is also a robotic AI powered exoskeleton, which has motors at the joints, such as the knees, hips and ankles to help people who have paralysis of the lower limbs. It has been developed by the IHMC or the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition and the medical technical group Myolyn.
It features the perception tech derived from autonomous cars/vehicles, as well as the control algorithms used for balancing humanoid robots. Both these technologies are used to keep the wheelchair user stable. The QUIX is one of the innovative wheelchair solutions which would help paralyzed people experience motion to a greater degree than sitting in wheelchairs.
Evowalk is another breakthrough design. It is a non-intrusive sleeve which is wrapped around the user’s leg which tracks the walking motion. This stimulates the right muscles at exactly the right times that leads to improvement in motion/mobility.
The sleeve will help the user’s muscles to contract when they walk, which the company Evolution Devices claims that it help them in day-to-day movement, and will rehabilitate muscles over time too.
The Evowalk will help those with debilitating conditions such as multiple sclerosis, and hopefully will be affordable for a lot of people.
The company Italdesign aspires to create an app-based share network for wheelchair users, by designing to a series of small sized electric vehicles.
Traditional wheelchairs tend to be a little cumbersome for users. With AI and other technologies, wheelchairs users will be benefited by the improvement of motion, and even help them experience walking with the aid of exoskeletons.