Electric wheelchair navigation using virtual reality: From intention to action

  • Abellard P
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Objective.- The ISIDORE simulator for electric wheelchair mobility has been developed with a triple aim: to help the doctors give out a driving license for operating an electric wheelchair, to place the patient in a virtual environment in order to move about safely and to be able to observe both the patient's behavior and to quantify important parameters to help the therapist develop actions of rehabilitation. Material and method.- ISIDORE is a platform, which can be used with any electric wheelchair available on the market. It has a microcomputer, which can collect and process data from the movements of the wheels. To assess their performance moving around in a virtual environment (VIRTOOLS) will be used with an IMMERSAPOD station. Then the patient will be able to move freely in a familiar environment (hospital, rehabilitation center, foyer for the disabled or a private home) and his or her trajectory will be compared to an optimized one. Then, studying the discrepancies will help set up or upgrade a number of additional (visual, sound. . .) devices to provide a better accessibility. Results.- The patient can use three different steering modes: a manual mode with total control; an automatic mode where the wheelchair behaves like a mobile robot going from a starting point to a given target and a semi-automatic mode where the user only has to rely on the wheelchair when facing awkward positions (blocked passages, going through doors or obstacles to be avoided). Discussion.- The piloting assistance can exploit the inference of intentions: the preliminary intention (for the mental representation of what the user wants to do; the intention in action for the supervision of the action process at a macroscopic level and the driving intention for the control of the action in progress. It will then become possible to improve the assistance thanks to a database of fuzzy logic rules using the data from different sensors (angles and speed of lever command movements, head and eyes movements and so on).




Abellard, P. (2012). Electric wheelchair navigation using virtual reality: From intention to action. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 55, e345. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rehab.2012.07.875

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