CAIRO, Egypt A French project in the Imagine Cup to develop a module that can be used to adapt existing electrical wheelchairs to enhance safety and comfort and help the integration of disabled people in urban environment was one of eight projects eliminated after the first round of voting here.
The Smart Wheelchair with Embedded Electronic Technology (SWEET) project has developed a system which includes an embedded computer running Windows CE6.0 with a GPS/GSM module and dedicated software. It also includes a mechanical and electronic climbing system enabling the wheelchair to clear obstacles such as sidewalk and door step.
The control board is based on a dsPIC microcontroller with an running Windows CE 6.0. The systems includes a GPS/GSM module and involved C/C++ and C# development as well as the use of mechanical devices such as a jack, spring, and clamps. The team members – Aubert Durand de Gevigney, Nicolas Donner and Patrick Gaudiche are all students at ESIEA, an engineering school is Paris that specializes in information technology and electronics.
The team said it was inspired to develop the system when it was in contact with disabled people organizations and we noticed that urban areas still have many places not accessible to a standard electronic wheelchair and that existing solutions are sophisticated and expensive. The team accepted the challenge of working on an affordable solution.
“The difficult part in our project was the mechanical system because we are not specialized in mechanics, we also had to face the integration of an embedded computer in a existing wheelchair.”
The team has one year in school before get their degrees and plan to use this period to enhance the development and make field tests with disabled people organizations in France.
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