Robotic Wheelchair Autonomously Follows Walking Companion

This robotic wheelchair has sensors and the necessary programming to autonomously follow a walking companion, easing the process of moving around in a wheelchair.


(Robotic wheelchair)

This wheelchair is a prototype created at Saitama University‘s Human-Robot Interaction Center. The robotic device is also able to avoid obstacles.

The capacity to autonomously follow someone around was an integral part of one of my favorite fictional devices - the autoporter from John Brunner's The Shockwave Rider:

...he nabbed an autoporter and - after consulting the illuminated fee table on its flank - credded the minimum: $35 for an hour's service...

From now until his credit expired the machine would carry his bag in its soft plastic jaws and follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound, which indeed it resembled...
(Read more about Brunner's autoporter)

Via Neatorama.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/14/2010)

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