What it does
Telewheelchair is a personal mobility that makes a new society by combining VR and AI. We aim to create a society in which individuals can spend comfortably while maintaining diversity without classification of elderly people, disabled people and healthy people.
Although Japan is an aging society with the demand for nursing care is expected to increase, the caregiver's lack of personnel is being questioned. For the aged society, the wheelchair is an important mobility. However the wheelchair has not changed for more than a century, it is operated by the care giver standing behind it. In order for elderly people and physical disability person to be able to live in the same way as healthy ones, we think that we must change wheelchairs so that they can be used with low human costs with technology. Therefore, we decided to add a remote control function and AI assistant to the wheelchair.
How it works
Telewheelchair, an electric wheelchair system we propose, is a new device combining remote control, obstacle detection, and environment recognition technologies. A pilot who is located in a remote place can watch the whole celestial spherical image of the wheelchair viewpoint taken with Theta S using HTC Vive and remote control the electric wheelchair. We transfer the image using HDMI wireless transfer, and remote operation uses wireless communication using Zigbee. However, since it is difficult to grasp the surrounding environment perfectly with a whole viewpoint from a single viewpoint, we installed an obstacle detection system using deep learning and an environment recognition system using SLAM. When a person stands in front of a wheelchair or when an obstacle is detected ahead, the wheelchair automatically stops.
We have already made prototypes based on Taorite II-m. After adding Theta S and allowing to acquire the omnidirectional image of the wheelchair viewpoint, we implemented a wireless operation system and a video transfer system to perform remote control. In this project, because we also stress the design of the wheelchair, we changed the design and made it the current black base wheelchair. We have been doing demonstrations several times at the elderly home. We are getting a feedback from people working at the nursing care site.
How it is different
We redesigned based on the Aisin Seiki's electric wheelchair taillit II-m. Although existing products must be operated by passengers, this product can be operated by remote persons, and it will also assist with steering using AI. Furthermore, by improving the design of the wheelchair, we aim to be able to use the wheelchair as well as wearing clothes and wearing accessories.
Telewheelchair has already developed basic functions, but there are some problems for users to use comfortably. In remote control, we have to solve wheelchair operability, delays in operation and short distances with which images can be transferred. In addition, we will increase usability and safety so that we can use it at nursing care sites. Our goal is to create a society where any person can live the same life regardless of people with disabilities or healthy people.
LAVAL Virtual Award 2017 Transport & Mobility VRC AWARD 2017 Finalist SIGGRAPH 2017 Poster Accepted