Tactile Interface to Steer Power Wheelchairs: A Preliminary Evaluation with Wheelchair Users
Power Wheelchairs can be a necessity for many people to have a certain level of mobility. Unfortunately, some of them may not be able to use one because they cannot safely manipulate a joystick. In a previous study, we proposed a tactile interface to steer power wheelchairs and started a first round of experimentation with able-bodied users. In this paper, we present recent tests of our steering interface in both formal and informal settings with some users with mobility impairment from different profiles. In the formal tests, two wheelchair users performed three different common tasks: straight line following, 90° corner and doorway passing with both our tactile steering interface and a joystick. The steering performance of the tactile interface was close or similar to that of the joystick. We also outline lessons that we learned from these tests for future improvements.
KeywordsTactile interface Joystick Power wheelchair Evaluation
We thank the IES Champigny-sur-Marne and the MAS Saint-Jean de Malte for their continuous feedback, help and logistical support valuable to the completion of this study and the iterative development of our steering interface in general. We also thank all the subjects that participated to the experiments. Last but not least, we would like to mention that this work is supported by the “IDI 2017” project funded by the IDEX Paris-Saclay, ANR-11-IDEX-0003-02.
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