Sunday, September 27, 2009

Off-road wheelchairing

robotic wheelchairWe suspect that wheelchair off-roading might not turn out to be turning up at the next X Games, but regardless of the hazard-sounding nature, an Australian professor at Monash University's Intelligent Robotics Centre has been developing a 4-wheel-drive wheelchair. Combining a navigation system and off-road capabilties, the chair is meant for travel along forest trails and beach paths. Not a bad idea, since the user could gain greater access to wheelchair unfriendly terrain. Another wheelchair inroad comes from engineers at the University of Essex and the Institute of Automation in Beijing who have created the RoboChair which uses collision-avoidance technology, map building, intelligent decision making and a 3G wireless communication system. We're going to assume that the included tele-operation capacity is for emergency monitoring cases only and not for random highjackings.

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