Wheelchair Makes the Most of Brain Control

September 13, 2010 | Source: Technology Review


A robotic wheelchair that combines brain control via EEG with artificial intelligence to make it easier for people to maneuver it using only their thoughts has been developed by researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

The approach, known as “shared control,” could help paralyzed people gain new mobility by turning crude brain signals into more complicated commands.

Patients don’t need to continuously instruct the wheelchair to move forward; they need to think the command only once, and the software takes care of the rest.  The wheelchair is equipped with two webcams to help it detect obstacles and avoid them. If drivers want to approach an object rather than navigate around it, they can give an override command. The chair will then stop just short of the object.