A team from Hong Kong Polytechnic University has developed an intelligent system called the iWheelchair that promises to make life easier for users and caregivers.
A tablet computer serves as the central operations platform, enabling users to control any home devices connected to the system, such as an electric bed, TV, and electric curtains, via simple touchscreen commands. Users with impairment of hand functions would use a fabric electronic switch that can convert thumb movements into touchscreen commands.
The system also integrates safety, health, and hygiene monitoring with automated alert functions. A wheelchair sensor measures vital health signals and sends readings to the computer for instant display and future record, while a fall monitoring function can activate an alarm through the tablet when the user or the wheelchair falls. Fabric sensors monitor posture and alert users to prolonged inactivity that can lead to circulatory conditions such as bedsores, and a smart diaper will buzz when changing is needed.
An optional setting is available for sending short-message-service and email alerts to caregivers and family members.
From Hong Kong Polytechnic University
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