Researchers at Japan’s Miyazaki University have come up with a prototype wheelchair that has the ability to recognize facial expressions. This wheelchair is especially beneficial for people who have paralysis from the neck down or are losing power in their muscles due to Muscular Dystrophy/ALS. The wheelchair is very easy to use, and requires these facial expressions for movement:
Blink left eye: Turns wheelchair to the left.
Blink right eye: Turns wheelchair to the right.
Clench teeth: Wheelchair moves forward.
Clench teeth again: Wheelchair stops.
This wheelchair uses proximity sensors to determine if there are any objects in the path. If there is no obstruction, then the wheelchair speeds up, and if it detects something, it slows down. It stops when it is a meter away from an object.
The researchers soon plan to use wireless goggles instead of the facial electrodes to communicate with the wheelchair. This year they are testing it with muscular dystrophy patients and getting feedback. They plan to release a commercial version next year.
Watch this video for a demo: