This prototype is an Adaptive Input Device for Kinetically Challenged Persons. It can control any electronically/electrically controlled external device such as appliances, home-lights, TV, air-conditioning unit, telephone, and computer.
Its operation is based on sensors that are mounted on the hand of the user in order to detect the hand’s motion. A set of specific motions has been defined. Depending on the recognized motion the system exits a predefined output. The device then could control external devices, in real-time, through a direct electronic interface. Moreover, a training methodology by which the device could be adapted to individual user’s needs has been developed.
The input device can communicate with external devices through any different communication protocol such as Bluetooth, infrared, X-10 etc.
Main Technical Advances:
-It is embedded and for its normal use (not the training) it doesn’t need to be connected to any PC.
-The above feature combined with the use of simple board and of the shelf electronic parts makes this device inexpensive for production.
-It is reasonable in its size and its operation is decoupled from the actual manipulation of physical entities (e.g. joysticks, trackballs, keyboards, mouse devices).
-Its design is flexible and it can be integrated with any desired communication protocol.
Main Competitive Advances – Market Applications:
People with kinetic disabilities are often characterized by inability to use any commonly-used equipment in order to communicate with their environment. With the effect of computers today, a large selection of input devices for computer I/O is available for kinetically challenged persons such as large keyboards, eye-tracking devices etc. Essentially, all research and associated products to date have focused on making computers more accessible to kinetically challenged persons, or, in using computers to perform tasks (e.g. pick-up telephone, turn lights on/off, controlling appliances etc.).
It is desirable to detach the input devices from the need to be connected to a personal computer, and by making them embedded, to associate such devices directly with desired tasks, such as direct device control (without the need of a general purpose computer). Furthermore, for kinetically challenged persons, it is desirable to decouple the input device functionality from the actual manipulation of physical entities (e.g. joysticks, trackballs, keyboards, mouse devices) and rather rely on free motion which may be more comfortable.
Several input devices for kinetically challenged persons are available in the market. These devices require great computational resources; thus the presence of a dedicated computer is imperative. That increases the cost and reduces the portability of the device because of size, weight and energy consumption. The proposed device is reliable in its results, robust in its operation, reasonable in its size and inexpensive. It can be used to control external appliances or a wheelchair or to communicate with a computer making it more accessible for the kinetically challenged persons.
The Hellenic Society for Disabled Children (ELEPAP) is interested in the device. Several experiments were conducted with some of the children and the results were quite satisfactory.
-New Methodology for Motion Recognition
-New Methodology for Device Training using Computer
-Inexpensive Embedded System decoupled from any Computer
At this point a laboratory prototype has been tested and an engineering prototype is under development. The PC application for training has been successfully tested. Two experimental applications have been developed and a limited number of clinical tests has been performed. A provisional US patent application covering the technology has been filled (Serial No. 60/625,412) and a full US patent application is in preparation.