Wii remote controlled balancing wheel chair

The Personal Mobility Robot (PMR) has a chair for a passenger and balances on two wheels like a Segway. Now the clever folks at the University of Tokyo have added Wii remote control to the platform in a full-sized version of the Segwii. We understand that adding Wiimote control to anything isn’t exactly groundbreaking at this point. That being said, if using stock hardware can increase the quality of the user interface on something like a wheelchair, while decreasing the production cost at the same time, we’re all for it.

[Thanks Erico]

Comments

  1. nave.notnilc says:

    hmm, probably cheaper than normal wheelchair control interfaces, but probably needs more work on the part of the user in most cases.

    @cboy
    wow.

  2. pwrx says:

    Ahhh.. The Wiimote. Fun for everything but playing games on the Wii.

  3. Whatnot says:

    Using the buttons would be just as ‘intuitive’ and easier and probably more responsive, this seems like the old solution that is seeking a problem.

  4. Sci says:

    I notice no one actually riding it while under Wiimote control.
    I’d be concerned about unwanted run-away feedback. It’s already a self-balancing platform so will be making lots of small back-and-forth motions already. The wiimote picks up that motion as an instruction and moves more in that direction, causing more correction, until the control loop runs away.
    Probably not a huge problem when under direct control, but could cause lots of problems when you want to stay still!

  5. C.A. says:

    Why?

    Why would you possibly need it to only have 2 wheels? Is there any benefit to only 2? What was wrong with 4? There are clearing more than 2 wheels on it already, so why are they making it unnecessarily complicated?

  6. j_at_chaperon says:

    @C.A.
    2 wheels is fun, 4 wheels is boring. That’s why you are on Hack A Day aren’t you ? They did it because they can and being able to do this makes them cool.

  7. C.A. says:

    @_at_chaperon

    I love it when their hacks make something simpler or novel, 2 wheels on a wheelchair doesn’t do either, just increases build complexity and number of points of failure.

    I have no problem with their adaptation of a Wii Remote for control, its the obsession everyone has with 2 wheeled vehicles.

  8. CameronSS says:

    Interestingly, the Segway HT was the further development of the iBOT, which was a balancing wheelchair rather similar to this. It was able to lift itself up on two wheels to place the other two up higher, which let it climb stairs and curbs. I can’t see how this wheelchair really benefits from it, though, other than I suppose it would increase mobility by giving it a wheelbase of zero.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBOT

  9. Sci says:

    @CameronSS: Was going to mention seeing the iBOT on TV, but had no idea of it’s name. Thankyou! Apparently no longer in production because it never broke even on cost? Mind you at US$26,100 each, I’m not surprised!

    Other self-balancing chairs have come up (pun not intended) to provide their users both with the additional manoeuvrability the smaller footprint provides as well as the extra couple of feet in height that is lost if you move everywhere sitting down.

    I don’t see any benefit for the user in having a two-wheeled chair that adds neither user height or or decreases the footprint. I wonder if the original chair in this case is another one of a company following a trend without understanding why that trend is there?

  10. D- says:

    The Wii remote would be advantageous for those who have limited arm,hand function, and can move their head. Two wheels can mean a more compact unit, and a zero turn radius.As it costs nothing to stop building barriers, that should be the priority. Perhaps then less expensive technology can be used to help those who need to use wheelchairs.

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