User-Adaptive Brake Assist System for Rolling Walkers
Institute of Science and Engineering, Academic Assembly, Shimane University
1060 Nishikawatsu-cho, Matsue, Shimane 690-8504, Japan
Rolling walkers are popular mobility aids for older adults. A rolling walker usually has two swivel front wheels and two non-swivel rear wheels. It is designed to improve stability while walking and reduce the risk of falling. However, a considerable number of users have come close to or experienced falling. We developed a user-adaptive brake assist system for the walker. In the system, the usage of a walker is modeled in combination with the walking speed and the distance from the walker to the user. A brake pattern is generated based on usage data interpolated using the inverse distance weighting method. The pattern is referenced to activate brakes with the corresponding strength while walking. The applicability was confirmed by analyzing the walking data of two older adults, and the usability was positively evaluated in experiments with seven young adults wearing elderly simulation suits.
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