Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 48 Number 5, 2011
   Pages 529 — 544

Abstract —  Performance testing of collision-avoidance system for power wheelchairs

Edmund F. LoPresti, PhD;1* Vinod Sharma, PhD;2 Richard C. Simpson, PhD;2-3 L. Casimir Mostowy1

1AT Sciences, LLC, Pittsburgh, PA; 2Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 3Pittsburgh Highland Drive Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Abstract — The Drive-Safe System (DSS) is a collision-avoidance system for power wheelchairs designed to support people with mobility impairments who also have visual, upper-limb, or cognitive impairments. The DSS uses a distributed approach to provide an add-on, shared-control, navigation-assistance solution. In this project, the DSS was tested for engineering goals such as sensor coverage, maximum safe speed, maximum detection distance, and power consumption while the wheelchair was stationary or driven by an investigator. Results indicate that the DSS provided uniform, reliable sensor coverage around the wheelchair; detected obstacles as small as 3.2 mm at distances of at least 1.6 m; and attained a maximum safe speed of 4.2 km/h. The DSS can drive reliably as close as 15.2 cm from a wall, traverse doorways as narrow as 81.3 cm without interrupting forward movement, and reduce wheelchair battery life by only 3%. These results have implications for a practical system to support safe, independent mobility for veterans who acquire multiple disabilities during Active Duty or later in life. These tests indicate that a system utilizing relatively low cost ultrasound, infrared, and force sensors can effectively detect obstacles in the vicinity of a wheelchair.

Key words: assistive technology, collision avoidance, intelligent mobility aids, man-machine systems, mobility impairments, navigation assistance, rehabilitation, robotics, smart wheelchairs, wheeled mobility.

View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 48, No. 5
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
LoPresti EF, Sharma V, Simpson RC, Mostowy LC. Performance testing of collision-avoidance system for power wheelchairs.
J Rehabil Res Dev. 2011;48(5):529-44.

Last Reviewed or Updated  Wednesday, May 25, 2011 2:04 PM

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