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Proceedings Paper

Adaptive mobility aids for the elderly
Author(s): Glenn Wasson; James Gunderson; Michael Cvetanovich; Steven Kell; S. Graves; Robin A. Felder
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Paper Abstract

Loss of mobility in the elderly causes a significant economic burden to caregivers and is one of the most significant determinants of depression and loss of muscle strength and productivity in this age group. Mobility aids can assist with locomotion by providing physical support, however they fail to provide direction guidance and avoidance of obstacles and hazards. This talk will focus on design of intelligent adaptive wheeled walkers. By allowing the user varying degrees of control, from complete to collaborative, these walkers afford the user with the feeling of control, while helping to increase the ease and safety of their daily travels. The control systems of these walkers differ from those of other mobility aids and mobile robots because they must both assist in mobility and provide balance and support, but also give directional aid if necessary. These functions must be performed in a tight loop adaptation with a human whose input may be difficult to predict. Through the use of a wheeled walker equipped with force and sonar sensors, we were able to develop an intelligent self-guided mobility aid that can provide improved independence, autonomy, and quality of life for the elderly.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 October 2001
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4512, Complex Adaptive Structures, (23 October 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.446775
Show Author Affiliations
Glenn Wasson, Univ. of Virginia (United States)
James Gunderson, Univ. of Virginia (United States)
Michael Cvetanovich, Univ. of Virginia (United States)
Steven Kell, Univ. of Virginia (United States)
S. Graves, Univ. of Virginia (United States)
Robin A. Felder, Univ. of Virginia (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4512:
Complex Adaptive Structures
William B. Spillman, Editor(s)

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