In the recent times, there have been numerous breathtaking developments with people experimenting and coming up with many never-seen-before inventions. Now, the attention of various startups, companies and government bodies has been shifted to the innovation of autonomous devices, be it cars, boats, planes or the latest – wheelchairs!
Mark Lim, official in charge of the Singapore’s digital services and commercial development division, has announced the plan to run the project on invention of the same. According to GovInsider, his team will be exploring work with healthcare agencies to pilot this wheelchair. The project will reportedly complete by March 2017 and will harness computer vision, robotics and machine learning to ferry patients around hospitals. This is the first project from the new GovTech Agency that combines digital technologies with hardware to build new services for citizens.
Lim was quoted saying,
What if we could make the wheelchair move on [its] own? There is a proper use case for it, because today we have limited health care workers. These nurses are more precious in doing their work – in taking care of the patients – than pushing them around in the wheelchair.
— Joshua Chambers 🚀 (@chambersjosh) September 27, 2016
The team is also said to be working on a smart walking stick, Lim said. The stick will have the ability to track elderly who are very mobile, but need some support. It will have GPS tracking feature to detect falls and trigger alerts.
The initiative is not just government focused on introducing smart solutions, this will be genuinely helpful to aged individuals who require extra medical attention. A recent World Bank report mentions areas across East Asia, countries like Singapore, South Korea and Japan are heading towards a serious aging crisis. The wheelchair will be certainly beneficial for people with severe disabilities, such as significant motor impairments or the physical inability to operate a standard wheelchair with joystick control mechanism.