Conference date and location: 24-26 October, 2011, Dundee, Scotland
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Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance Help for Older Adults with Dementia: A Pilot Study

Pooja Viswanathan, James Little, Alan Mackworth and Alex Mihailidis


Many older adults with cognitive impairment are excluded from powered wheelchair use because of safety concerns. This leads to reduced mobility, and in turn, higher dependence on caregivers. In this paper, we describe an intelligent wheelchair that uses computer vision and machine learning methods to provide adaptive navigation assistance to users with dementia. We demonstrate the performance of the system in a user study with the target population. We show that the collision avoidance module of the system successfully decreases the number of collisions for all participants. We also show that the wayfinding module assists users with memory and vision impairments. We share feedback from the users on various aspects of the intelligent wheelchair system. In addition, we provide our own observations and insights on the target population and their use of intelligent wheelchairs. Finally, we suggest directions for future work.

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