Volume 48 Number 9, 2011
Pages 1061 — 1076
Abstract — Intelligent wheelchairs (IWs) can become an important solution to the challenge of assisting individuals who have disabilities and are thus unable to perform their daily activities using classic powered wheelchairs. This article describes the concept and design of IntellWheels, a modular platform to facilitate the development of IWs through a multiagent system paradigm. In fact, modularity is achieved not only in the software perspective, but also through a generic hardware framework that was designed to fit, in a straightforward manner, almost any commercial powered wheelchair. Experimental results demonstrate the successful integration of all modules in the platform, providing safe motion to the IW. Furthermore, the results achieved with a prototype running in autonomous mode in simulated and mixed-reality environments also demonstrate the potential of our approach. Although some future research is still necessary to fully accomplish our objectives, preliminary tests have shown that IntellWheels will effectively reduce users' limitations, offering them a much more independent life.
Key words: artificial intelligence, human-robot interfaces, independent mobility, intelligent robotics, intelligent wheelchair, mixed reality, multiagent systems, multimodal interface, service robots, simulation, voice control.
Last Reviewed or Updated Monday, November 21, 2011 11:30 AM