Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 52 Number 7, 2015
   Pages 815 — 826

Abstract — Evaluating gaze-driven power wheelchair with navigation support for persons with disabilities

Erik Wästlund, PhD;1* Kay Sponseller, MSc;2 Ola Pettersson, PhD;3 Anders Bared, BSc4

1Department of Psychology, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden; 2Adult Habilitation Center, Landstinget i Värmland, Sweden; 3Embint Technology, Örebro, Sweden; 4Aurena Laboratories AB, Karlstad, Sweden

Abstract — This article describes a novel add-on for powered wheelchairs that is composed of a gaze-driven control system and a navigation support system. The add-on was tested by three users. All of the users were individuals with severe disabilities and no possibility of moving independently. The system is an add-on to a standard power wheelchair and can be customized for different levels of support according to the cognitive level, motor control, perceptual skills, and specific needs of the user. The primary aim of this study was to test the functionality and safety of the system in the user's home environment. The secondary aim was to evaluate whether access to a gaze-driven powered wheelchair with navigation support is perceived as meaningful in terms of independence and participation. The results show that the system has the potential to provide safe, independent indoor mobility and that the users perceive doing so as fun, meaningful, and a way to reduce dependency on others. Independent mobility has numerous benefits in addition to psychological and emotional well-being. By observing users' actions, caregivers and healthcare professionals can assess the individual's capabilities, which was not previously possible. Rehabilitation can be better adapted to the individual's specific needs, and driving a wheelchair independently can be a valuable, motivating training tool.

Key words: assistive devices, assistive robotics, assistive technology, cognitive impairment, disabled persons, eye movement, eye-tracking, gaze control, intelligent wheelchair, navigation support, neurological disorders, path-following, physical impairment, powered wheelchair, rehabilitation, smart wheelchair, user experience, user involvement.

View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 52, No.7

This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Wästlund E, Sponseller K, Pettersson O, Bared A. Evaluating gaze-driven power wheelchair with navigation support for persons with disabilities. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2015;52(7):815–26.
ORCID: Erik Wästlund, PhD: 0000-0001-8102-8168

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