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Volume 42 Number 4, July/August 2005
Pages 423 — 438


Abstract - Smart wheelchairs: A literature review

Richard C. Simpson, PhD, ATP*

Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Abstract — Several studies have shown that both children and adults benefit substantially from access to a means of independent mobility. While the needs of many individuals with disabilities can be satisfied with traditional manual or powered wheelchairs, a segment of the disabled community finds it difficult or impossible to use wheelchairs independently. To accommodate this population, researchers have used technologies originally developed for mobile robots to create "smart wheelchairs." Smart wheelchairs have been the subject of research since the early 1980s and have been developed on four continents. This article presents a summary of the current state of the art and directions for future research.
Key words: artificial intelligence, independent mobility, infrared range finder, laser range finder, machine vision, power wheelchairs, robotics, sonar, subsumption, voice control.

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