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An Autonomous Wheelchair with Indoor Positioning System and Smart 3D Headphone for the Visually Impaired

Pereira, J. ; Gowda, G. ; Almeida, N. ; Mendes, S. P. M.

IOSR Journal of Engineering Vol. 9, Nº 2, pp. 27 - 40, February, 2019.

ISSN (print): 2250-3021
ISSN (online):

Journal Impact Factor: 1,645 (in )

Digital Object Identifier: 10.9790/3021

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Abstract
Much research on electric-powered wheelchairs (EPWs) has been carried out in recent years to mitigate the problems of disabled people. We have come a long way since the basic manually-operated wheelchairs, and the progress made has considerably improved freedom of mobility of the disabled. This study proposes an autonomous EPW (electric powered wheelchair) having smart driving features for the visually impaired. Our initial prototype, the InstitutoPolitécnico de Leiria/Instituto de Telecomunicações (IPL/IT) wheelchair had voice, eye-movement, and GPS (Global Positioning System) control. Our latest version which we propose in this paper includes an Indoor locating system (IPS) using 3D printed directional Wi Fi antennas that allow a precise positioning of the wheelchair in an indoor scenario and a novel smart 3D headphone that can generate acoustic signals in proportion to a 3D object, which will allow the visually impaired to identify the size and shape of obstacles, and thus, avoid them. The IPL/IT EPW system has been designed with low-cost IoT (Internet of Things) technology in mind.