Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Robotic Motorized Wheelchair Trainer

A feasibility study was performed to determine the design and usage of a robotic motorized wheelchair trainer. This robotic wheelchair trainer was designed to steer itself along a course using computer vision. Using technology that interacts with the person's touch (otherwise known as haptic guidance), the driver's hand was guided in steering actions using a force feedback joystick. Twenty two children without motor impairment (ages 4-9) were trained during a single session. The results indicated that the guided wheelchair training significantly improved the steering ability of the typically developing children compared to no training sessions. One 8 year old boy with cerebral palsy and severe motor impairment improved his ability to steer the motorized wheelchair even more that the typical developing children. The researchers concluded haptic guidance robotic training offers a fun, safe way to develop motorized wheelchair driving skills in addition to facilitating motor learning.

You can read the entire open access study at the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Reference:Laura Marchal-Crespo, Jan Furumasu and David J Reinkensmeyer. A robotic wheelchair trainer: design overview and a feasibility study Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2010, 7:40doi:10.1186/1743-0003-7-40

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