Loose Guide for Passive Omnidirectional Mobility Aid
Naemeh Nejatbakhsh*,** and Kazuhiro Kosuge**
*Sonic/Automation Discipline, Schlumberger K. K., 2-2-1 Fuchinobe, Sagamihara 229-0006, Japan
**Department of Bioengineering and Robotics, Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University, 6-6-01 Aobayama, Sendai 980-8579, Japan
This paper details the design and control of an intelligent mobility aid for the elderly and gait-disabled, called Omni RT Walker (ORTW). Omni RT Walker-II, version 2 of ORTW, consists of an omnidirectional platform and uses magneto-rheological brakes for passive control. ORTW-II enables the elderly to use the driving skills they possess while supplementing movement that may have declined due to their age or fatigue. We choose indoor navigation as the task to be realized by shared control of ORTW-II. Unlike most path tracking methods, which attempt to lead an objective system on a desired trajectory, our new algorithm restricts mobility to a pathway called the Potential Canal, while mobility is conducted by the user. In systems with direct human interaction similar to mobility aids, our proposal is expected to increase user-dependability in system operation while increasing user freedom and safety. A collision-free Potential Canal is maintained using realtime modification based on environmental information. Experimental results are included to demonstrate path tracking accuracy and quality.
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