Sunday, October 21, 2012

Robot Wheelchair That Climbs Steps; Tackles Obstacles

robot wheelchair climbing up a step
Image source: Diginfo TV

A group at Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan has developed a new concept wheelchair that can climb stairs!

This robot wheelchair, equipped with four wheels, five axes, a joystick, and various sensors moves on regular surface just like any other wheelchair. However, whenever it sees a step, it lifts its legs off the ground and "climbs up" in a walking style. The user just needs to direct the wheelchair using the joystick. The robot has a bunch of sensors on its feet, and that helps it detect obstacles. These sensors are used to detect how big and far the steps are. On uneven surfaces, the robot uses these sensors to make sure the chair remains stable (the intention is to use this robot wheelchair on regular paved surfaces). This robot wheelchair also has the ability to line up its wheels, thus allowing it to make 360 degree turns even in narrow spaces.

As of now, Shuro Nakajima, the scientist leading the group behind this robot wheelchair wants more people to test this wheelchair so that he could get more data to tweak the user experience.

Check out the video to see this amazing robot wheelchair in action!


Source: DigInfo TV

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