WheelchairMR - Mixed Reality Environment for Driving Powered Wheelchairs

In previous work we have demonstrated that Virtual Reality can be used to help train driving skills for users of a powered wheelchair. However, cybersickness was a particular problem. In this project we are addressing this by developing a Mixed Reality alternative to our wheelchair training software.

Wearing the Hololens enables virtual obstacles to appear in the real world as the user manoeuvres the wheelchair around the room.
Figure 1: Wearing the Hololens enables virtual obstacles to appear in the real world as the user manoeuvres the wheelchair around the room. [JPG]

The Microsoft Hololens is being used in this project with virtual content generated using Unity. The Hololens is a selfcontained unit meaning it isn’t tethered to a computer. This allows the device to be manoeuvrable and portable. It can be taken into any room/environment and be used with very little setup.

The intention is to create virtual furniture, such as a Sofa, Coffee Table, TV Stand, etc. This could improve the quality of the training as the environment would be a better reflection of what the patient would have at home. As the wheelchair already has a physical presence in the simulator, physics could also be applied to the objects in the room, causing objects to move or fall over if the patient hits them. This would add another level of immersion and could aid in the training and rehabilitation.

Related Publications

  1. Day, T. W. (2017). Wheelchair-MR: A Mixed Reality Wheelchair Training Environment. In Cyberworlds (CW), 2017 International Conference on (pp. 154–157). [bib]