A Brazilian startup called HOO.BOX Robotics is developing a control system for wheelchairs that is completely powered by facial recognition technology. It's called Wheelie and it was designed to be simple and comfortable. Check out their introduction video below.
Wheelie is a robotic wheelchair that uses facial expressions, eye tracking, head movement, and speech recognition to control it. It uses Intel's "RealSense" technology and translate them into wheelchair commands. Wheelie is also a custom solution. People have different facial and physical limitations or comfort constraints. Others will prefer head movement or even eye tracking solutions. So each user's controls are programmed to be comfortable and accurate for each individual. Check out the videos below of HOO.BOX demonstrating some of the custom controls.
Wheelie was initially developed by researchers at Brazil’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, State University of Campinas (FEEC / Unicamp). Some might be wondering why this technology is needed. Wheelie will be extremely useful for people who suffer from conditions that limit the use of their hands and arms, such as cerebral palsy or results of a stroke. Wheelie utilizes a laptop and Intel’s RealSense facial-recognition camera to capture and decipher nearly 80 points from a person’s face. The software can be programmed to recognize facial movements such as a smile, half smile, wrinkled nose, kiss face, tongue out or puffed-out cheeks and then assign those actions to driving the wheelchair forward, backward, left or right, or stopping. The trick to making this practical was finding facial cues that were comfortable for the user.
Check out the video below to see Wheelie being maneuvered around obstacles in an office space: