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University students invent wheelchair operated by head movements

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Understanding the difficulties of people with disabilities, a group of electrical and electronic engineering students at Transport University decided to design a wheelchair that would help them move easily.

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The students are Lam Quang Thai, Nguyen Van Huy, Trinh Truong, Truong Tan Ngoc and Dang Nguyen Truong Duy.

The product uses IMU sensor modules in conjunction with a microcontroller, applying control algorithms to determine the places that the user wants to go. It adjusts the speed of the vehicle by the user or their guardian.

Since the controlling unit of the product is designed in the form of module, it can be easily replaced or repaired during use. The unit can also be installed on other electricity-powered wheelchairs.

Other important parts of the wheelchair are the Raspberry Pi3 kit, which can recognize voices, also created by the group of students, and a camera which can transmit the user’s images to relatives or medical centers. The parts monitor and observe the current situation of user via a wifi network. 

The operation of the wheelchair is simple. The vehicle is controlled through the controlling unit which receives signals from the sensors placed on the user’s head. 

After that, the controller sends signals to an actuator that makes the wheelchair move. The movements of the head (left/right, leaning forward/back or upright) will decide where the vehicle goes.

The sensor module has three sensors - acceleration, velocity and magnetic field sensors. The sensors together with the signal control algorithm will show the controlling unit the direction user wants to follow. 

During operation, the camera on the wheelchair transmit the user’s images to relatives and medical centers.

Asked about the outstanding points of the product, Vo Thien Linh, the lecturer who guided the students, said that being a ‘made in Vietnam’ product, the wheelchair has low production costs and is easy to use. 

As individual modules are integrated, it is easy to assemble modules on different types of wheelchairs.

Regarding the commercial development of the product, he said since the product is designed in modules and the controlling unit is implemented by embedded computing in conjunction with a microcontroller, there are various ways of development. 

One of the possible ways is combining this with image and voice processing technology to recognize user’s gestures and words which will regulate the wheelchair.

The wheelchair also uses GPS which can identify the position of users and report the information to guardians.

 

Source: VietNamNet

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