Online control of a mobility assistance Smart walker

In this project, we aim to develop a smart walker:
- to improve the stability of assisted gait of people with physical disabilities, and the elderly.
- to provide for safety, a natural manoeuvrability and should offer a certain degree of intelligence in assistance and judgement.
- transparent control of the robot by the user when walking.

ASBGo walker use a sensor system for the characterization of the user-walker interaction during assistive gait. Nevertheless, in order to make it more robust and considering economical aspects it requires a simple sensorial configuration. Thus, the device should be implemented with simple and low cost sensors. However, the interface of this new prototype must be user-friendly without requiring additional cognitive capacities or training, since many users have many difficulties related to these factors. 

Main contributions include:

i) extraction of user's command intentions through a simple joystick integrated in the upper base of the walker;
ii) additional safety, by detecting possible falls of the user;
iii) development of robust and intrinsically safe control strategies for a robotic mobility assistance system;
iv) validation of the smart walker through experiments with users.

The final system will be a semi-autonomous device, with large storage and computational ability, which integrates actuators and sensors that are able to extract the users’ intentions and therefore, in a coordinated manner, control the mobility assistance system accordingly. 

The proposed human-machine interface will be simple and user-friendly such that users may naturally use it without a learning phase.
Results include the development of a robot for mobility assistance and monitoring system for the users, an active tool in assisting the pathological human gait. 

This project will be used to advance towards a commercial product with an affordable cost but high reliability and safety. The motivation is that this will contribute towards better rehabilitation purposes by promoting ambulatory daily exercises and thus extend users’ independent living and improve their life quality.

People involved in this project: 
Related publications: 
Martins, M., A. Frizera, C. P. Santos, and R. Ceres, "A Novel Human-Machine interface for guiding Smart Walkers. The NeoASAS Purpose", IEEE-2012 ISSNIP Biosignals and Biorobotics for better and safer living Conference. , Brasil, 2011.
Project status: 
Past or closed project