KD Smart Chair, UCSD Developing Autonomous Wheelchair

The smart chair company and engineering students from the University of California, San Diego are developing a wheelchair with next-gen drivability features.

Have you ever heard of a wheelchair that comes when it’s called? KD Smart Chair announced it has been collaborating with the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego in developing an open source, low-cost, powered wheelchair that utilizes assistive and autonomous navigation technologies. 

Leading the team of undergraduate engineers is Dr. Jack Silberman as principal investigator and Shemaiah Barton as project manager.

The collaboration has been ongoing for two years, and the team has already developed a new 59-pound wheelchair that is capable of traveling over a variety of terrain. 

“Our research and development team has been working hard for the past two years developing and focusing our efforts on improving the ride quality, drivability, and safety of our new model line of KD Smart Chair Special Edition power wheelchairs,” Roland Reznik, KD Smart Chair CEO, explained. “We have added additional features to our new model line of chairs to improve the quality of life for our customers and end users.”

The plan going forward, according to Barton, includes harnessing more mainstream smart technologies like voice recognition software, tablets and smartphones, and LIDAR. The result would be a chair that works for the user — even when the user isn’t in the chair.

“Our current plan is to use a voice recognition similar to how Amazon's Alexa can recognize a voice command and respond with feedback,” Project Manager Barton says. “Our goal would be for a user to be able to call the wheelchair to come to them if it is not beside them. Once in the wheelchair, the user will be able to give a command to take them to a destination inside their house.”

To learn more about KD Smart Chair, visit www.kdsmartchair.com.

About the Author

Leila McNeill is a former associate editor for HME Business and Mobility Management.


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