Electric wheelchairs are designed to aid paraplegics. Unfortunately, these can not be used by persons with higher degree of impairment, such as quadriplegics, i.e. persons that, due to age or illness, can not move any of the body parts, except of the head. Medical devices designed to help them are very complicated, rare and expensive. In this project proposal a microcontroller system that enables standard electric wheelchair control by head motion is presented. The system comprises electronic and mechanic components.
A novel head motion recognition technique based on accelerometer data processing is designed. The wheelchair joystick is controlled by the system’s mechanical actuator. The system can be used with several different types of standard electric wheelchairs. Wheelchair operation is based on navigation, which, in this case, is defined as safe transport from the starting point to a given destination. The wheelchair, comparing to the exoscelet, are a more general medical device and a much simpler one. Thus, the wheelchairs are used more often. Nevertheless, only patients with healthy upper extremities (paraplegics) can successfully operate standard electric wheelchairs. The patients who cannot use any of their extremities (quadriplegics) cannot operate these. Hence we came up with this project proposal.