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Intel's AI-powered wheelchair takes cues from facial expressions

Intel's AI-powered wheelchair takes cues from facial expressions
Photo Credit: Reuters

US chipmaker Intel Corp has partnered with Brazil-based Hoobox Robotics to launch a motorised wheelchair powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that can be controlled through facial expressions.

Wheelie 7 allows users to pick from 10 facial expressions to control their motorised wheelchair.

Instead of invasive body sensors, Wheelie 7 uses the 3D Intel RealSense Depth Camera mounted on the wheelchair to stream data that AI algorithms can process in real time to control the chair.

More than 60 people – most of whom are affected by paralysis or are senior citizens – in the United States are testing Wheelie 7.

“It’s important to recognise the ways technology can help people regain mobility and control of their lives. The Wheelie 7 kit from Hoobox Robotics is a great example of using AI to enable people with limited mobility to move around using natural facial movements,” said Anna Bethke, leader of AI for social good, Intel.

Paulo Pinheiro, co-founder and chief executive of Hoobox Robotics, said, “Wheelie 7 is the first product to use facial expressions to control a wheelchair. This requires incredible precision and accuracy, and it would not be possible without Intel’s technology.” 

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