Design of an immersive simulator for assisted power wheelchair driving

Abstract : Driving a power wheelchair is a difficult and complex visual-cognitive task. As a result, some people with visual and/or cognitive disabilities cannot access the benefits of a power wheelchair because their impairments prevent them from driving safely. In order to improve their access to mobility, we have previously designed a semi-autonomous assistive wheelchair system which progressively corrects the trajectory as the user manually drives the wheelchair and smoothly avoids obstacles. Developing and testing such systems for wheelchair driving assistance requires a significant amount of material resources and clinician time. With Virtual Reality technology, prototypes can be developed and tested in a risk-free and highly flexible Virtual Environment before equipping and testing a physical prototype. Additionally, users can " virtually " test and train more easily during the development process. In this paper, we introduce a power wheelchair driving simulator allowing the user to navigate with a standard wheelchair in an immersive 3D Virtual Environment. The simulation framework is designed to be flexible so that we can use different control inputs. In order to validate the framework, we first performed tests on the simulator with able-bodied participants during which the user's Quality of Experience (QoE) was assessed through a set of questionnaires. Results show that the simulator is a promising tool for future works as it generates a good sense of presence and requires rather low cognitive effort from users.
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Louise Devigne, Marie Babel, Florian Nouviale, Vishnu Narayanan, François Pasteau, et al.. Design of an immersive simulator for assisted power wheelchair driving. IEEE Int. Conf. on Rehabilitation Robotics, ICORR'17, Jul 2017, London, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-01523385⟩

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