AI kit that can control wheelchair with face shown at CES

AI kit that can control wheelchair with face shown at CES

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Brazil-based startup HOOBOX Robotics, in partnership with Intel, demonstrated an AI-powered adapter kit, Wheelie 7, to move a wheelchair with facial expressions and gestures at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas. The kit learns about the user’s gestures automatically and takes around seven minutes to install. It can be plugged into any motorised wheelchair, the startup said.

News In Detailed

A new wheelchair may give people with severe mobility challenges another reason to smile about artificial intelligence – that grin might literally help them control their wheelchair. Sao Paulo, Brazil-based Hoobox Robotics has teamed up with Intel on the Wheelie 7, a kit that leverages AI to let a disabled person drive a motorized wheelchair through any of 10 facial expressions, from raising an eyebrow to sticking out one’s tongue.

Motorized wheelchairs these days are typically controlled with a user’s hands, a joystick or via sensors attached to the body. That’s not the case here.The Wheelie learns the user’s smile and other gestures automatically – there is no special training that is required. Through an app, a caregiver or family member can assign which facial expressions would be tied to which way the wheelchair moves or stops: left, right, forward, backwards. 

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