Wheelchair lets its user stand up

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By Sola Ogundipe

THERE is better lease of life for persons confined to the wheelchair in 2013, thanks to a  team at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan.

They have  developed a battery-powered, joystick-controlled wheelchair called i-Transport that enables a person to stand up while still “seated” on a wheelchair. All that is required to transit from a sitting to a standing position is a push of a button.

As a bonus, this device has in-built sensors that monitor vital signs such as blood pressure and respiration of its user.

The i-Transport looks and functions similar to the Tek RMD that also features a drive-in design for easy transfer to and from a bed or chair.

A release from  the University said i-Transport utilises Altera FPGA – a newly developed intelligent control chip with a  multi-core processor for developing software and hardware design of the cart’s control systems.

The control system includes the robotic arm, the electric-driven vehicle wheel, and the operator control panel, whereas the control and drive system includes direct current motors for robotic arms, rim motor drives, operator control panel interface circuit and the FPGA-based intelligent control chip.

The FPGA chip serves as the core component of the system.. A warning mechanism is in-built for a set of physiological signals which can be quantified into physiological parameters in order to compare theoretical values and clinical data within the computer programmme.

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