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Monica Faria B.,Polytechnic Institute of Porto | Monica Faria B.,University of Aveiro | Monica Faria B.,Laboratorio Of Inteligencia Artificial E Ciencia Of Computadores Liacc | Monica Faria B.,Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro | And 6 more authors.
Assistive Technology | Year: 2013

This article focuses on evaluating the usability of an intelligent wheelchair (IW) in both real and simulated environments. The wheelchair is controlled at a high-level by a flexible multimodal interface, using voice commands, facial expressions, head movements and joystick as its main inputs. A quasi-experimental design was applied including a deterministic sample with a questionnaire that enabled to apply the System Usability Scale. The subjects were divided in two independent samples: 46 individuals performing the experiment with an IW in a simulated environment (28 using different commands in a sequential way and 18 with the liberty to choose the command); 12 individuals performing the experiment with a real IW. The main conclusion achieved by this study is that the usability of the IW in a real environment is higher than in the simulated environment. However, there were not statistical evidences to affirm that there are differences between the real and simulated wheelchairs in terms of safety and control. Also, most of users considered the multimodal way of driving the wheelchair very practical and satisfactory. Thus, it may be concluded that the multimodal interfaces enables very easy and safe control of the IW both in simulated and real environments. © 2013 Copyright 2013 RESNA.


Faria B.M.,Laboratorio Of Inteligencia Artificial E Ciencia Of Computadores Liacc | Faria B.M.,Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro | Faria B.M.,University of Aveiro | Faria B.M.,Polytechnic Institute of Porto | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems: Theory and Applications | Year: 2014

The development of an intelligent wheel chair (IW) platform that may be easily adapted to any commercial electric powered wheelchair and aid any person with special mobility needs is the main objective of the IntellWheels project. To be able to achieve this main objective, three distinct control methods were implemented in the IW: manual, shared and automatic. Several algorithms were developed for each of these control methods. This paper presents three of the most significant of those algorithms with emphasis on the shared control method. Experiments were performed by users suffering from cerebral palsy, using a realistic simulator, in order to validate the approach. The experiments revealed the importance of using shared (aided) controls for users with severe disabilities. The patients still felt having complete control over the wheelchair movement when using a shared control at a 50 % level and thus this control type was very well accepted. Thus it may be used in intelligent wheelchairs since it is able to correct the direction in case of involuntary movements of the user but still gives him a sense of complete control over the IW movement. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Reis L.P.,University of Minho | Reis L.P.,Laboratorio Of Inteligencia Artificial E Ciencia Of Computadores Liacc | Faria B.M.,Laboratorio Of Inteligencia Artificial E Ciencia Of Computadores Liacc | Faria B.M.,Polytechnic Institute of Porto | And 4 more authors.
Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering | Year: 2015

Since the demographics of population, with respect to age, are continuously changing, politicians and scientists start to pay more attention to the needs of senior individuals. Additionally, the well-being and needs of disabled individuals are also becoming highly valued in the political and entrepreneurial society. Intelligent wheelchairs are adapted electric wheelchairs with environmental perception, semi-autonomous behaviour and flexible human-machine-interaction. This paper presents the specification and development of a user-friendlymultimodal interface, as a component of the IntellWheels Platform project. The developed prototype combines several input modules, allowing the control of the wheelchair through flexible user defined input sequences of distinct types (speech, facial expressions, head movements and joystick). To validate the effectiveness of the prototype, two experiments were performed with a number of individuals who tested the system firstly by driving a simulated wheelchair in a virtual environment. The second experiment was performed using the real IntellWheels wheelchair prototype. The results achieved proved that the multimodal interface may be successfully used by people, due to the interaction flexibility it provides. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.


Faria B.M.,Polytechnic Institute of Porto | Faria B.M.,Laboratorio Of Inteligencia Artificial E Ciencia Of Computadores Liacc | Faria B.M.,Institute of Electronics and Informatics Engineering of Aveiro | Reis L.P.,Laboratorio Of Inteligencia Artificial E Ciencia Of Computadores Liacc | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems: Theory and Applications | Year: 2015

Intelligent wheelchairs (IW) are technologies that can increase the autonomy and independence of elderly people and patients suffering from some kind of disability. Nowadays the intelligent wheelchairs and the human-machine studies are very active research areas. This paper presents a methodology and a Data Analysis System (DAS) that provides an adapted command language to an user of the IW. This command language is a set of input sequences that can be created using inputs from an input device or a combination of the inputs available in a multimodal interface. The results show that there are statistical evidences to affirm that the mean of the evaluation of the DAS generated command language is higher than the mean of the evaluation of the command language recommended by the health specialist (p value = 0.002) with a sample of 11 cerebral palsy users. This work demonstrates that it is possible to adapt an intelligent wheelchair interface to the user even when the users present heterogeneous and severe physical constraints. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Almeida J.E.,Laboratorio Of Inteligencia Artificial E Ciencia Of Computadores Liacc | Rossetti R.J.F.,Laboratorio Of Inteligencia Artificial E Ciencia Of Computadores Liacc | Faria B.M.,Polytechnic Institute of Porto | Coelho A.L.,National Laboratory for Civil Engineering
Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing | Year: 2015

Serious Games are being increasingly used as a tool for various applications, contrary to the traditional entertainment purpose. One of their application domains is fire safety. Possible injuries from fires are a dangerous safety concern for children, for instance. Another important issue is the elicitation of behavioural knowledge to design and feed simulation models. The lack of human behaviour data is often referred to as a drawback to evacuation simulation designers. This paper addresses the aforementioned matters in respect to: i) acquiring valuable knowledge on children behaviour when facing the urgent need for evacuation; and ii) devising an educational tool. A group of 19 children from an elementary school played two different role plays using a Serious Game and the data of their behaviours was collected. Results were analysed and are here presented. Future work is two-fold: to expand and to refine data collection to other groups such as elderly; to use this data for crowd synthesis particularly for evacuation simulators. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.

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