Hand Gesture Controlled Wheelchair

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM); KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: Haptical technology is a field that is under constant development and that exists in many of today’s products, for example in VR-games and in the controls for vehicles. This kind of technology could in the same way simplify for disabled people by their being able to control a wheelchair using hand gestures. The purpose of this project is to research if a wheelchair can be controlled with hand gestures, and in that case, in which way that would be the most optimal. To answer the research questions in the project, a small scale prototype wheelchair was developed. This prototype is based on a microcontroller, Arduino, that is controlled by a sensor, IMU, that reads the angle of the user’s hand. Together, the components control two motors and steer the wheelchair. The result shows how hand gestures can steer the wheelchair forward, backward, left and right under constant speed, as well as making it stop. The prototype is able to follow the movements of the user’s hand, but reacts more slowly than would be desirable in a real situation. In spite of the fact that there are many different aspects to haptical steering of a wheelchair, this project shows that there is a large potential in implementing this kind of technology in an actual wheelchair.

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