More and more aged people and disability people , Also, People are having longer life expectance, there is a great needs to increasing their mobility and quality of life. Standard wheelchair provides no support while driving, this bring the needs for intelligent wheelchair which could automate driving task as much as possible. This report describes design and development of intelligent wheelchair. It gives a brief overview of robot technology, emphasis on how the using of today's Java technology could assist the design of intelligent wheelchair. Outlines key anticipated benefits and identifies the measures of success for the system
The proportion of people needs physical assistance in our society is under growing. The CentralÂ StatisticsÂ Office (CSO) estimates that there were 467,926Â peopleÂ agedÂ 65Â orÂ overÂ in Ireland in 2006. Many of them are suffering from chronic disease and having mobility problem(Fahey, 2007). The ability of perform day to day tasks such as shopping, socializing, family life, independently, independently, is a great challenge to most of them. The National Physical and Sensory Disability Database (NPSDD) shows 7,562 people aged 16-65 years having physical and sensory disability was registered in Ireland in 2007(O'Donovan, 2007), though the total figure of disability people is greater as some people opt out of registering, many of them experienced difficulty in participate in major day and day life such as education, employment and socializing. The NIDD (the National Intellectual Disability Database) recorded 26,023 people with intellectual disabilities was registered in Ireland in 2008(Kelly et al., 2008), many of them also having physical disability.
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Most of these people requires the use of assistance devices like wheelchair to perform day to day tasks. The standard wheelchair provide no support while driving, this has generate a greater needs for intelligent wheelchair.
IT components of the intelligent wheelchair
The applicant of robotics technology has approved to be great success in many industrial areas. It is expect to become the next generation of rehabilitation assistants for elderly and disabled people. This bring the needs for intelligent wheelchair. A typical powered wheelchair with an ECU (Electronic Control Unit) could support some simple maneuver tasks such like: Forward / Backward / Accelerate / Break / Stop / turn Left / turn Right / Climb / Up / Down movement and control)While a more advanced intelligent wheelchair could automate driving task as much as possible.
There have been many different approaches to design intelligent wheelchair. Considerations
â€¢ Cover Safety of use
â€¢ Cost of unit and maintenance
â€¢ User ability level, what does the user need to be able to do to control the wheel chair (eg controlled movement of hand and fingers)
â€¢ Custommise-ability for users needs
â€¢ Ease of use and intuitiveness of usage
Maturity of the technology
Relevance of Java over other programming languages
Over the last ten years, the object-oriented programming has gained wide acceptance and spread all areas of applications. programming languages and techniques developed in the 1960s and 70s because suitable modern tools were, until recently, not available for small-scale robotics applications. RidgeSoftâ„¢ developed the RoboJDEâ„¢ Javaâ„¢-enabled robotics software development environment and the IntelliBrainâ„¢ robotics controller to change this.
Open source robot control software
Suitability of Java over other programming languages
Since developed in later 1990's, Java has become more and more popular. As an alternative programming language to C/C++, Java becomes matured now. The features of Java, multi platform, portable, well established, decent performance, dynamically adjustable to the hardware, lesser complexity to developers, support for object orientation, user interfaces, and others,
Programming in Java has enormous advantages in building a robot control application. As it detailed below:
Object Oriented Programming.Â When you use object oriented programming techniques your robotics software will be easy to understand and easy to debug. You will be able to make use of the building blocks in the RoboJDE class library. You will be able to share the components you develop with other developers. If you are working as a team, you will be able to break your software into components that team members can develop and test independently.
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â€¢Â Â Ease of Debugging.Â The Java language and virtual machine are designed to prohibit or protect against common software problems such as un-initialized variables, null pointers, wild pointers, casting errors, out-of-bounds array indexes, and stack overflows. Many problems that would otherwise be difficult to debug are caught by the compiler or the virtual machine. A problem caught by the virtual machine generates an exception when it occurs and includes a stack trace pinpointing the source file and line number where the problem occurred. System crashes are virtually eliminated with Java software.Â
â€¢Â Â Built-in Operating System Features.Â The Java language and virtual machine standardize many operating system functions such as multi-threading, thread synchronization and memory management.
â€¢Â Â Software Libraries.Â The Java specifications standardize the format of compiled Java programs (class files), eliminating the need to share source or header files or require a specific compiler when sharing software. As a result, you can easily use libraries developed by others, such as the RoboJDE class library, and others can easily use software you develop. In addition, the Java language provides a mechanism, called Javadoc, for generating comprehensive programming interface documentation in a standard format that can be viewed using a Web browser.Â
Click the following link to view the RoboJDE class library documentation:
RoboJDE Class Library DocumentationÂ
â€¢Â Â Readily Available Supply of Related Books, Literature and other Resources.The popularity of Java programming has produced a seemingly limitless supply of resources to help you learn to program using the Java language. Click on the following link to view the Java-enabled Robotics Primer.
Java-enabled Robotics Primer
â€¢Â Â Portability.Â Because Java software is designed to be platform independent and the Java virtual machine is well specified, Java software is very portable. Using the Java language to develop your robotics software will help ensure it is portable to other robotics controllers in the future. In addition, you may find when programming in Java it is convenient to develop and test certain components of your software on your PC before ever executing it on your robot.Â
â€¢Â Â Learn Modern Software Development Skills.Â Many languages used for robotics software development are either special purpose or nearing obsolescence. The Java language is widely used and Java tools are available for free on every major computing platform. The skills you develop using RoboJDE are modern skills that can be applied to other projects on other computing platforms.
Java, as it provides APIs for programming systems that can see, hear, speak, and move, (Meloan, 2003)makes it a good candidate for developing real-time applications in various domains of intelligent machines and robots.
Java computing technology is a key for creating a network robot environment since it is a unified platform with efficiency, scalability and cross-platform compatibility. Individual applications can be designed within this environment and then executed on different computing and control devices.
In other words, physical devices can be simulated "on the net", tested for correctness, then put into action. Control devices can be managed over the Internet using browser-based interfaces. In this way, process control, home and factory automation become more flexible, powerful and easier to manage. This research project is to investigate how we actually build such an environment based on Java technology, and how to implement Java-based microprocessors in the real-time control of robots and embedded systems.
Recent advancements in computer technology enable us to build a Java-based control program which can solve problems in real-time. Although it is still slower than native programs, it does not bother us if the program completes the job in a reasonable time. Java provides more distinctive strength in controlling a mobile robot system. Many robot control programs in the robotics literature were hardware specific mainly because of the uniqueness of the hardware, operating systems limits on the programming language, and the development environment specific to the platforms. Meanwhile, platform independence, one of the most attractive features of Java, allows the control program to operate similar robots on various computer platforms and operating systems with minor modifications.
Having this feature in the robot control program, we can test the program on a smaller scale prototype. Using a test-bed for a robot control program is especially needed if the robot is a large intelligent system equipped with many features. Another advantage of using Java in mobile robot control is the availability of APIs (Application Program Interface). Sun Microsystems already provides a number of useful tools for free which are unavailable in C/C++. In the meantime, many research institutions, companies, and even individuals distribute miscellaneous APIs with or without charge. In this project, several useful APIs are used in the control program. For example, the fuzzy collision detection agent uses the NRC FuzzyJ Toolkit freely distributed by the National Research Council of Canada. This fuzzy toolkit API provides the capability of handling fuzzy concepts and reasoning. Using these APIs usually maintains system compatibility.
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There is extensive literature reported successful implement Java technology to design intelligent wheelchair. Ono et al(2004) build a mobile robot for corridor navigation, which is designed as a test bed for future development of intelligent wheelchair, the component layer of the program was implemented using Java technology, which made the system independent of operating platform and hardware device. Ren and Karimi(2009) introduced a novel wheelchair navigation system written in JAVA in an open source GIS tool called Geotools. Ronnback(2005) demonstrate another a good example of applying java technology, the software is mainly written in java, which make it is possible to run as a stand alone program on the computer those has java installed.
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