Intel's new AI wheelchair technology helps individuals regain autonomy

Intel has partnered with HOOBOX Robotics to develop a toolkit, the "Wheelie 7", which enables wheelchair-bound individuals to operate their wheelchair through facial expressions

5Dec

Multinational tech company Intel has unveiled its latest development in collaboration with Brazilian startup HOOBOX Robotics, an AI-powered toolkit named "Wheelie 7" to provide enhanced mobility for the quadriplegic community.

According to Intel, using the Wheelie 7 technology, a wheelchair can be operated with facial expressions. To achieve this, the kit integrates the Intel RealSense Depth Camera, Intel core processors and Intel's OpenVINO AI toolkit to "to accelerate the inferencing of facial recognition software and provide immediate responsiveness".

HOOBOX Robotics CEO and co-founder Dr. Paulo Pinheiro said: "The Wheelie 7 is the first product to use facial expressions to control a wheelchair. This requires incredible precision and accuracy, and it would not be possible without Intel technology."


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The new AI-powered toolkit aims to provide independence to people with reduced mobility. Approximately 288,000 people in the US are living with spinal injuries and there are around 17,700 new cases every year, according to The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center.

The Wheelie 7 kit eliminates the need for invasive body sensors which are traditionally required for operation of wheelchairs and can be downloaded within seven minutes. "Taking just seven minutes to install, the Wheelie 7 kit allows users to pick from 10 facial expressions to control their motorized wheelchair – moving forward, turning and stopping."

"We are helping people regain their autonomy," the company claimed.

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