MIT Wheelchair/Bed Aims to Boost Independence
November 16, 2008 01:10 AM EST - submitted by
MIT researchers have developed a wheelchair with unique responsiveness to human muscle pressure, so tasks that previously required the help of another person-in most cases, a nursing home or hospital aide-can now be accomplished unassisted.
The wheelchair, combined with a horseshoe-shaped bed, forms a system known as RHOMBUS (Reconfigurable Holonomic Omnidirectional Mobile Bed with Unified Seating). The powered wheelchair can be docked in the horseshoe portion of the system and reconfigured to a flat, stationary position forming a twin-size bed. The wheelchair's speed and direction are controlled by operating a joystick or by giving commands to the onboard computer.