Long-term care (LTC) residents with cognitive impairments are often not permitted to use powered wheelchairs due to safety concerns, which results in a loss of mobility and independence. The authors have developed two prototypes of an anti-collision system for a powered wheelchair; one employs a 3D infrared sensor while the other uses stereovision. Both systems are designed to stop the wheelchair if a collision with an object is imminent and provide verbal prompts to help the user navigate around the obstacle. This paper presents an overview of both designs as well as a comparison of performance testing under controlled lighting conditions. Future work includes more advanced planning and scheduling capabilities, as well as the development of a pervasive network of intelligent wheelchairs.
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