This video presents the simulation of a novel driving assistance system of a robotic wheelchair, for people paralyzed from down the neck. The user’s head posture is tracked, to accordingly project a colored spot on the ground ahead, with a pan-tilt mounted laser. The laser dot on the ground represents a potential close range destination the operator wants to reach autonomously. The wheelchair is equipped with a low cost depth-camera (Kinect sensor) that models a traversability map in order to define if the designated destination is reachable or not by the chair. If reachable, the red laser dot turns green, and the operator can validate the wheelchair destination via an Electromyogram (EMG) device, detecting a specific group of muscle’s contraction. This validating action triggers the calculation of a path toward the laser pointed target, based on the traversability map. The wheelchair is then controlled to follow this path autonomously. In the future, the stream of 3D point cloud acquired during the process will be used to map and self localize the wheelchair in the environment, to be able to correct the estimate of the pose derived from the wheel’s encoders.
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