Controlling the speed and direction of a wheelchair by just thinking about it may be feasible soon. Karim Ait Abderrahim, is the incharge of Energy and Systems laboratory of Esme Sudria. He envisioned this project using Mindwave headset that can pick up brain signals. He assigned the development of the prototype to 3 of his students Pagliughi Pierre, Gregory Lerondeau and Kevin Martins.
The prototype, functional now, consists of a circuit board of 10 by 8 inches that retrieves the Bluetooth signal from the EEG headset and controls the motors of the wheelchair. “There is an experimental system of this sort in Australia, but it requires a computer and sensors. Hence that is quite bulky.” says Peter Pagliughi.
The helmet Mindwave is one of the most commonly used and comprises only of one electrode. The signals it collects are quite minimalist and are not just of the brain but also the face muscles. Engineers developing the prototype used the basic functionalities of the helmet by extracting just two kinds of signals: one associated with the thought concentration to control the speed, the other is related to the eye blinking to choose the direction the wheelchair. The system is suitable for the people with the strong physical disabilities. The engineers explain: “Some small calibrations are required before a person can use the wheelchair. “
Engineers want to further develop the prototype. The project is also a winner of French innovative projects award and will get 45,000 euros if some partnership with industry is developed.
This innovative product is very much appreciated! The helmet Mindwave really looks very powerful. We hope this will be a service to many disabled and will improve their lives. Are you glad to see that technology helps these people, who are mostly socially isolated, to take the place they deserve?