Sweden develops MICA: the intelligent, autonomous wheelchair

There's not much like getting off the couch and moving around a bit (well, not always), and a Swedish dissertation has uncovered an intelligent wheelchair that sports remote-controlled or autonomous operation. Sven Rönnbäck of Luleå University of Technology in Sweden has developed the Mobile Internet Connected Assistant (MICA), which offers up a presumably comfortable looking set of wheels to those who lack the ability to move on their own. Similar to the technology found in the Good Bytes Cafe, this wheelchair utilizes the built-in "distance-metering sensor to discover the surfaces that are available," and the technology can also be used to "ensure that the wheelchair is being used in a safe manner." The target market is "severely handicapped individuals who would otherwise find it difficult to steer a wheelchair," as these folks could take full advantage of the head-controlled interface in order to instruct the machine where to go next. Best of all, the device can learn and store maps of one's home, giving blind and visually impaired individuals the chance to cart around their crib without worrying over foreign objects foiling their plans. While we haven't heard of any VCs grabbing hold of this marvel just yet, we're sure that opportunity isn't too far away, and we're all about finding new ways to blaze a path. [Warning: PDF link]

[Via Gizmag]