An Intelligent Powered Wheelchair to Enable Mobility in Older Adults with Cognitive Impairments

By Pooja Viswanathan

Mobility and independence are essential components of a high quality of life. Although they lack the strength to operate manual wheelchairs, most physically disabled older adults with a cognitive impairment are not permitted to use powered wheelchairs due to safety concerns. The resulting restriction of mobility often leads to frustration and depression. In this talk, I will discuss the design of an intelligent powered wheelchair that will enable safe navigation and encourage interaction between the user and his/her environment. I will present the robotics-based algorithms implemented in the intelligent wheelchair system and some preliminary test results obtained at the Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Lab (University of Toronto).
Additionally, I will discuss future work that will include more advanced planning and scheduling capabilities, as well as the development of a pervasive network of intelligent wheelchairs.

Click here to go to the LCI Forum page