August 13, 2010
Robot Helps Kids Learn To Use Wheelchair
A robotic wheelchair is being developed that will help children learn to 'drive'. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation describe the testing of ROLY "“RObot-assisted Learning for Young drivers "“ in a group of children without disabilities and one child with cerebral palsy.
Laura Marchal-Crespo, worked with a team of researchers at the University of California at Irvine, USA, to carry out the study. She said, "The conventional approach for powered wheelchair driver's training is expensive and labor-intense, typically requiring the hand-over-hand assistance of a skilled therapist. To lower the cost and improve accessibility to training, we have developed a robotic powered wheelchair system on which young children with a disability can safely develop driving skills at their own pace with minimum assistance".
Reference: A robotic wheelchair trainer: design overview and a feasibility study. Laura Marchal-Crespo, Jan Furumasu and David J Reinkensmeyer. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
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