The e-Wheelchair project
Surely you remember the e-Wheelchair project that Philip Case, aka Cap, from UK, is developing.
Cap is creating an all purpose e-Wheelchair controlled by mind using Neurosky products. He is also implementing Cooking Hacks e-Health system to monitor vital body parameters such as ECG or Blood Glucose.
Today, we want to share with all of you some information about safety and communication. Cap feels it is an important point of the project and it would be nice to dedicate this post to explain something about it.
Cap has included an automatic stop functionality to prevent the chair hitting people accidentally. He has included in the wheelchair several ultrasound sensors, one on each footrest and one behind. In the first picture you can see one of them.
There will be 3 in total: all adjustable for distance and area covered. They will be fitted in the footrests and the rear of the chair.
How does the system work?
This sensors will stop the wheelchair at a set distance - if the chair comes near to anyone or anything, the chair will put the potentiometer to 0, stopping the chair from hitting people's legs in forward, or preventing hitting them if someone walks behind chair during reversing. It is an important part of the e-Wheelchair project due to the over 200lbs in weight travelling at any speed... The chair in motion can be very heavy and a dangerous machine, this system will work similar to the cars with Cruise Control that slow down when a car is nearing its sensors.
The second picture shows the communication device. It is easily stacked on the Arduino board. It helps to alert 3rd party if there are any problem and allows Internet connection. It can also be used to transmit location with built in GPS.
Cooking Hacks is giving technical support to Cap, helping him promoting his project and following his story closely! NeuroSky is providing him the equipment and development software free of charge to help people live better lives with the e-Wheelchair.
We are sure this project has a lot of potential and is relatively cheap compared to wheelchairs without such advances and tech. We will post more info as the project move forward!