Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 49 Number 1, 2012
   Pages 35 — 50

Abstract — Clinical evaluation of semiautonomous smart wheelchair architecture (Drive-Safe System) with visually impaired individuals

Vinod Sharma, PhD;1* Richard C. Simpson, PhD, ATP;1–3 Edmund F. LoPresti, PhD;4 Mark Schmeler, OTR/L, ATP2
Departments of 1Bioengineering and 2Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 3Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA; 4AT Sciences, Pittsburgh, PA

Abstract–Nonambulatory, visually impaired individuals mostly rely on caregivers for their day-to-day mobility needs. The Drive-Safe System (DSS) is a modular, semiautonomous smart wheelchair system aimed at providing independent mobility to people with visual and mobility impairments. In this project, clinical evaluation of the DSS was performed in a controlled laboratory setting with individuals who have visual impairment but no mobility impairment. Their performance using DSS was compared with their performance using a standard cane for navigation assistance. Participants rated their subjective appraisal of the DSS by using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Task Load Index inventory. DSS significantly reduced the number and severity of collisions compared with using a cane alone and without increasing the time required to complete the task. Users rated DSS favorably; they experienced less physical demand when using the DSS, but did not feel any difference in perceived effort, mental demand, and level of frustration when using the DSS alone or along with a cane in comparison with using a cane alone. These findings suggest that the DSS can be a safe, reliable, and easy-to-learn and operate independent mobility solution for visually impaired wheelchair users.

Key words: artificial intelligence, distributed systems, embedded systems, human-robot interaction, intelligent mobility aids, power wheelchairs, rehabilitation, robotics, sensors, shared control, smart wheelchair.

View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 49, No. 1
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Sharma V, Simpson RC, LoPresti EF, Schmeler M. Clinical evaluation of semiautonomous smart wheelchair architecture (Drive-Safe System) with visually impaired individuals. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2012;49(1):35–50.

Last Reviewed or Updated  Wednesday, February 15, 2012 2:23 PM

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