Self-driving AI wheelchair to aiding people with disabilities

Robot expert's team from Imperial College London has won $50,000 to further develop an eye-controlled, artificially intelligent wheelchair.

The self-driving artificially intelligent wheelchair
Credit: ThinkStock Photos

The research team at Imperial College London has won $50k. The prize was announced as part of Mobility Unlimited Challenge Discovery Award, which is funded by Toyota Mobility Foundation and run by Nesta‘s Challenge Prize Centre.

This research prize will help to develop a self-driving, self-navigating wheelchair for paralyzed people who can lead with their gaze. They also hope to make this wheelchair to make it available to people at low cost.

The project lead, Dr. Aldo Faisal from Imperial’s Departments of Computing and Bioengineering said, “Our wheelchair will help people to navigate their homes and the world outside. If the user can move their eyes to look at the world, they can operate the wheelchair that reads their intentions from their eyes.”

The power of AI is becoming accessible and affordable to regular people. We at Imperial are harnessing its power to improve lives.
– Dr. Aldo Faisal

The self-driving artificial intelligent wheelchair combines existing available technologies, such as eye tracking system and laptops, with the electric wheelchair.

The chair uses Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor. This sensor is based on infrared which is most commonly used in self-driving cars to generate a 360-degree map of the user’s environment.

The self-driving artificially intelligent wheelchair

The eye tracker in wheelchair inform eye moments to the AI and the AI programme defines where the wheelchair should move to and guide it to avoid obstacles.

The self-driving artificially intelligent wheelchairAI and LiDAR components have made it easy to navigate the wheelchair by avoiding obstacles without further human response.

The self-driving artificially intelligent wheelchair

The technology will help severely disabled people restore their independence at low cost.
– Noyan Songur & Mahendran Subramanian

Dr. Faisal said: “Our wheelchair is a great example of a frugal innovation. It also demonstrates that the power of AI is becoming accessible and affordable to regular people. We at Imperial are harnessing its power to improve lives.”

Graduate students on Aldo’s team, Noyan Songur, and Mahendran Subramanian said: “Such intelligent AI systems can learn and improve specific to the user over time, so we are able to work with patients from day one to pinpoint their needs and expectations. The technology will help severely disabled people restore their independence at low-cost.”

 

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