A Novel 3D Wheelchair Simulation System for Training Young Children with Severe Motor Impairments
Young children with severe motor impairments face a higher risk of secondary impairments in the development of social, cognitive, and motor skills, owing to the lack of independent mobility. Although power wheelchairs are typical tools for providing independent mobility, the steep learning curve, safety concerns, and high cost may prevent children aged 2–5 years from using them. We have developed a 3D wheelchair simulation system using gaming technologies for these young children to learn fundamental wheelchair driving skills in a safe, affordable, and entertaining environment. Depending on the skill level, the simulation system offers different options ranging from automatic control (i.e., the artificial intelligent (AI) module fully controls the wheelchair) to manual control (i.e., human users are fully responsible for controlling the wheelchair). Optimized AI algorithms were developed to make the simulation system easy and efficient to use. We have conducted experiments to evaluate the simulation system. The results demonstrate that the simulation system is promising to overcome the limitations associated with real wheelchairs meanwhile providing a safe, affordable, and exciting environment to train young children.
KeywordsArtificial intelligence A* Gaming technology Power wheelchair Secondary impairment Severe motor impairment Simulation
This work was supported by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST HR12-036).
- 2.Kermoian, R.: Locomotor experience and psychological development in infancy. In: Pediatric Powered Mobility: Developmental Perspectives Technical Issues Clinical Approaches, pp. 7–21. RESNA, Arlington, VA (1997)Google Scholar