The Robotics and Physics classes at Gering High School will design, build and test an eye controlled wheelchair to assist in the mobility of quadriplegics or anyone unable to use their limbs to navigate their environment.
Instructor Brett Moser said their entry into the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest required filling out a detailed activity plan.
For their entry, the classes at Gering would like to come up with a more dignified solution to mobility for individuals with disabilities that don’t involve the traditional method of using a blow tube to control his or her wheelchair.
The wheelchair will be modified to allow the user to wear a pair of eye tracking glasses. The glasses will be implemented into the wheelchair through an Arduino.
Initially, Moser said they had wanted to put a Raspberry PI as the onboard computer, but found that it’s processing speed was very slow. The programming team has decided to use an onboard laptop instead.
Once the user of the wheelchair has done a simple calibration test, the glasses are programmed for that user and needs no further calibration.
Moser said the engineering team discovered through their preliminary builds, that they needed to implement an emergency stop “canvas”. This will be a pre-programmed QR code that the glasses recognize once the user has gazed at it, thus stopping all power to the wheelchair, and engaging the electric brakes in case the user is on an incline.
Ultimately, Moser says the classes at Gering High School hope to help people in the community, and communities elsewhere. And give individuals with disabilities a more mobile and dignified means to navigate their environment.
The class is in phase II of the contest and are 1 of 5 state finalists in Nebraska. Moser said they should find out if they are the Nebraska winner on December 21st.
If they move on to phase III, they will get to make a video explaining their project and the process of completing the project. At the end of phase III (on or about March 4th), 10 national finalists will be invited to present the video and project to a panel of judges. After presenting, the panel of judges will select 3 schools as winners of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest.