AI Driven Wheel Chair Launched on World Disability Day By Intel

The Wheelie 7 kit is Intel-powered and turns a motorised wheelchair into an artificially intelligent device with facial recognition. This provides smart mobility for quadriplegic people and those who struggle with hand or arm movement.

Designed and created by Hoobox Robotics, it cleverly uses Intel AI technologies to recognise facial expressions and turn them into motion commands – moving the wheelchair forwards, backwards and to turn it left or right.

This is essential for safety as, for example, the expression for “stop” has to be read, transmitted and actioned without lag or latency.A 3D Intel RealSense Depth Camera SR300 is housed on the wheelchair to read facial expressions in real-time. This prevents the user from having to wear invasive body or head sensors. And, because Hoobox also uses Intel Core processing and the company’s OpenVINO toolkit, the system is precise and instantly responsive.

“It works in real time, it’s just like the blink of an eye,” Pocket-lint was told by the CEO of Hoobox, Paulo Pinheiro.

“If you smile, the wheelchair will stop. If you perform a kiss, the wheelchair will move forward. It’s very fast. It is less than 100ms.

“To put this product to market is all about the usability. Precision and speed is part of that usability.”

There are 10 facial expressions available to the user, with each chosen for their specific traits. The system will recognise them and is universal, so the user doesn’t have to programme anything his or herself.

“Right now, you can choose from 10 facial expressions. Most of our users choose five,” he explained.

“One for forward, one backward, left, right and stop. Users can choose the ones most comfortable for them.”