The report is concerned with understanding the existing technology in the motorized pediatric wheelchairs and the application of innovative eye-sensor technology (also called eye-detective). Initially, the problem concerning the existing wheelchairs have been discussed with the identification of goals and objectives in light of identified innovative technology. Moreover, the motorized pediatric wheelchair technology has been discussed under the section of ‘prevailing techniques’ and then the suggested technology has been discussed in detail. The two crucial elements of the new system design have been considered, namely, eye detection and motion tracking, and ATMega1284P controlled wheelchair assembly. The later section discusses the implementation of innovative technology along with the probable challenges in conducting this activity. The stakeholders have also been considered and the strategic alliance that is imperative for the successful implementation of this technological improvement.
One can witness the huge number of individuals who are unable to move their body due to a variety of reasons such as paralysis, loss of body parts, injured nervous system and others. The conventional wheelchairs were developed to solve this challenge (Kim, 2013). These wheelchairs work on manual power of individual users or with the help of someone supporting the wheelchair from behind for the desired movement. The assumptions behind this mechanism are that the users at least have a hand to move the chair or have someone always in support for movement assistance (Simpson, 2005; Borgolte et al, 1998; Buhler et al, 1995). However, it is well known that this assumption is far from reality. There are individuals who cannot even move their hands along with the other parts of the body (Ayodeji and Adejuyigbe, 2009). In such cases, the manually powered wheelchairs prove to be of no use if there is no one to support them.
Scientist Stephen W. Hawking can be considered as one example who cannot utilize manual wheelchairs or even the motorized wheelchairs that require input from voluntary muscles (B and Reddy, 2015). However, in the majority of these cases, it has been observed that individuals can still move their eyes. Therefore, considering these challenges and the requirement of a wheelchair that asks for minimal movement, the paper has suggested the consideration of eye sensor technology for the wheelchairs.
Goals and Objectives
The innovative eye sensor technology for the wheelchairs needs to be implemented. The construction of wheelchairs is required that can be adaptive to the eye movement of the individuals. It will be focused on moving the chair from one place to another only with eye movement. It is expected to aid in the seamless movement to the individuals who are highly paralyzed. The integration and implementation of the technology should be cheaper so that it can be afforded by the majority of individuals.
There are various manual wheelchairs available at present and some technological advancement in the same has led to the development of Motorized Pediatric Wheelchairs. The motorized wheelchair provides facility to the individuals to electronically move the chair without any effort (Geonea et al, 2015). Such kind of wheelchairs is fruitful for the children who will not be able to move the manual wheelchairs that are harder to move. The wheelchair technology is certain to improve the lives of the differently-abled individuals and specifically the children who cannot handle heavy manual chairs (Geonea et al, 2015; Brubaker, 1988; DiGiovine et al, 2006). The children with spinal muscular atrophy and those with the genetic challenges hold complete mobility. However, due to the weak body, they fear being easily injured. In these situations, the motorized pediatric wheelchairs of great help to them.
Despite these improvements, it has been identified that there is no major growth towards the integration of motorized wheelchairs with eye sensor technology. The logic behind the same is that the eye sensor technology will call for minimum possible movement from the individuals (K.S, 2012). They will be able to ensure that the individuals move the wheelchair with eyes only.
The major objective was to suggest a system that is comparatively cheaper and should be affordable to everyone. Also the safety of the users should be there. The eye-detection technology has been suggested and the design that has been identified is the use of the webcam. The webcam will be connected with the CPU along with the wheelchair. The web camera will be conducting the detection of the eye movements and it will be taken further for the motor movement. In the initial phase, the use of a microcontroller on the wheelchair and the connection of the same with the motors to drive the chair will be used (Nguyen and Jo, 2012).
The components that have been taken for the design are:
- Eye-detection and motion tracking
- ATMega1284P controlled Wheel Chair Assembly
Eye-Detection and Motion Tracking
The user will be wearing a helmet that will have a webcam attached to it. The webcam will have internal wiring to the CPU (Yokota et al, 2009). The CPU will be utilizing the MATLAB mechanism and will be monitoring and reacting to the movements of the eyes of the users. The webcam will take a series of snapshots and then decide the movement of the chair. The direction of the eye will decide the direction in which the chair needs to be moved. MATLAB will be processing the images sent to it by the webcam.
The use of ‘CascadeObjectDetector’ in the system will detect the eye-shaped objects. Moreover, the use of the Viola-Jones Algorithm has been found to be important. The snapshots that will be taken from the camera will be analyzed at the 20th frame. The system will be snapping and counting on at least one snapshot each subsequent second. The detection of the eye movement and decisions will be communicated to the chair using the serial port in the system.
ATMega1284P controlled Wheel Chair Assembly
The decisions that will be generated through the above procedure will be taken by the ATMega1284P. The block diagram below shows the overall mechanism:
Mentioned below are the codes that are utilized and the associated logic:
1. Initialization: The presence of serial communication that will be utilized by the MATLAB has been considered.
2. Image and Video Processing: The videos will be taken from the camera on continued frames and the screenshots will be utilized further.
3. Estimation: The detection of the eye is conducted at each of the snapped frames. The positioning of the eye is picked from here.
4. Detection: The eye movements are detected and the comparison between the current and previous positioning is done. Situations where the camera misses to read one eye, the most recently detected eye considered for decision making.
5. Error Handling: Mechanics to handle the errors have been utilized.
6. Motion: The eye detection leads to finalizing the direction in which to take the chair.
7. Safety Considerations: There is safety mechanics embedded in the system. For example, the double blink of an eye can halt the chair immediately and single blink will slow down for stopping.
8. Serial Communication: The detection of the command will allow the MATLAB the transmission of the 0 (straight), 1 (left), and 2 (right).
Overall, the major aspect of the development of this technology and implementation in the motorized wheelchairs is a software design and testing (Perez et al, 2011). Another aspect is the firmware components that require the capability of taking the right signals.
Figure 1 in the appendix shows the structure of the organization through which the new system will be implemented and tested. There are the inclusion of various stakeholders throughout the development process and providing the system to the users. The implementation requires various components namely, funding, sales, testing, purchase and orders, design and technical assistance, and others. These areas are expected to develop a system that is required.
The implementation will be done through the development of the right form of agreement with the various stakeholders. Moreover, all the functions will be clearly defined that will be performed by all the parties so that no conflict arises during the process. There will also be the provision for a penalty so that none of the parties intentionally fall on the wrong foot. The responsibilities around the organization will be shared on an equal basis and the right individuals will be taken on board to ensure that minimum technical challenges are faced during the development.
The major challenges that can be expected by the organization in implementing this new system and selling it to the marketing area from the suppliers and the employees who are operational within the organization. There might be some of the employee groups who would prefer to continue with the development of the previous system. The reason can be various, such as, lack of desire to come out of the comfort zone, no desire to adapt to other job functions, and others. Apart from that, as the new system is being integrated with the motorized chairs, the technical challenges are expected. The developers might have to engage numerous counts of development, implementation, and testing. It may consume more time than the organization has in its hand.
There are various stakeholders who would be interested in the new system. Mentioned below are the potential stakeholders:
These organizations lack enough fund. However, they have an appreciable level of community links and knowledge. The use of the system would require compliance with the governments.
Developed World Organizations
There are countries that have the right to these technologies that are being used in wheelchair technology that can be taken into consideration. They can also provide donations and expertise and related resources for the development of the system.
In-country Team and Users
The workshops within the country and provide enough assistance in the development of the system. Moreover, they might not call for many wages and they are able to stay close to the individuals using the chair and can provide better use-assessment.
Partnering with the organizations in the developed countries that can provide the technology for the wheelchair has been considered. The purpose of the alliance is to gain intellectual products and build a cost-effective wheelchair. It is expected that the alliance will have an appreciable impact on the growth of the organization’s ability to provide more eye-sensor based motorized wheelchairs to individuals and children. The organization will also consult with the NGOs and other charity organizations around the world that can provide enough funds to this project so that its benefit can reach a large scale of benefactors.
The intellectual property of the organization will remain within the organization. Various other intellectual properties will be taken from the other organizations from the developed countries which can help the company. The purpose would be to develop and secure intellectual property concerning the development of this innovative machine for the individuals.
As per the cost is concerned, it is expected that the individual production of such a wheelchair will be costly. On the other hand, the mass production of the wheelchair will reduce the overall cost to the bare minimum and make the chair affordable. The purpose is to benefit from the economies of scale.
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