Controlling wheelchairs by body motions: a learning framework for the adaptive remapping of space

Tauseef Gulrez, A. Tognetti, A. Fishbach, S. Acosta, C. Scharver, D. D. Rossi, F. A. Mussa-Ivaldi

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Learning to operate a vehicle is generally accomplished by forming a new cognitive map between the body motions and extrapersonal space. Here, we consider the challenge of remapping movement-to-space representations in survivors of spinal cord injury, for the control of powered wheelchairs. Our goal is to facilitate this remapping by developing interfaces between residual body motions and navigational commands that exploit the degrees of freedom that disabled individuals are most capable to coordinate. We present a new framework for allowing spinal cord injured persons to control powered wheelchairs through signals derived from their residual mobility. The main novelty of this approach lies in substituting the more common joystick controllers of powered wheelchairs with a sensor shirt. This allows the whole upper body of the user to operate as an adaptive joystick. Considerations about learning and risks have lead us to develop a safe testing environment in 3D Virtual Reality. A Personal Augmented Reality Immersive System (PARIS) allows us to analyse learning skills and provide users with an adequate training to control a simulated wheelchair through the signals generated by body motions in a safe environment. We provide a description of the basic theory, of the development phases and of the operation of the complete system. We also present preliminary results illustrating the processing of the data and supporting of the feasibility of this approach.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages0
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventCogSys 2008 - Karlsruhe, Germany
Duration: 2 Apr 20084 Apr 2008


ConferenceCogSys 2008
CityKarlsruhe, Germany


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