Intel comes up with AI-driven wheelchair

Intel comes up with AI-driven wheelchair

A girl on Wheelie 7, an AI driven wheelchair

In a bid to boost mobility among the quadriplegic community, global technology giant Intel has come up with a unique artificial intelligence-driven wheelchair.

The product will be launched in the US and Brazil markets initially, in 2019 and will be available on rental-basis for $300 per month. However, the company did not commit on when it will be launching the product in India.

Developed in collaboration with a Brazil-based company Hoobox Robotics, the wheelchair is named as Wheelie 7.  Using it, people can control their motorised wheelchairs with simple facial expressions.

Taking seven minutes to install, the Wheelie 7 kit allows users to pick from ten facial expressions to control their motorised wheelchair – moving forward, turning and stopping. Instead of invasive body sensors, the Wheelie 7 uses a 3D Intel RealSense Depth Camera SR300 mounted on the wheelchair to stream data that AI algorithms process in real-time to control the chair.

Given the importance of immediate responsiveness, Hoobox uses Intel Core processors and the Intel Distribution of OpenVINO Toolkit to accelerate the inferencing of facial recognition software.

There are currently 60 people testing the product, across the US and 300 other people are on a waiting list. Due to the rush in the demand, Intel said that they have opened up 100 more spots on the waiting list. Everyone currently using it and also on the waiting list will have access to it for free in exchange for feedback, the company told DH.

Intel unveiled the product on International Day of Persons with Disabilities. "It’s important to recognise the ways technology can help people regain mobility and control of their lives. The Wheelie 7 kit from HOOBOX Robotics is a great example of using AI to enable people with limited mobility to move around using natural facial movements,” Anna Bethke, leader of AI for Social Good, Intel said.