Smart wheelchair soars in top innovations list

Jun 09, 2011 By Claire Thompson
Jordan Nguyen tests a prototype Aviator wheelchair. Credit: Chris Bennett

Aviator, the smart wheelchair technology developed in the UTS Centre for Health Technologies, has been awarded third place in the Anthill SMART 100 Index.

Anthill is an online business channel dedicated to the promotion of Australian innovation and entrepreneurship. It is one of the top 1000 Australian websites and founded the SMART 100 Index to identify and promote new innovations around Australia.

Aviator has been developed at UTS in the form of two wheelchairs, TIM (Thought-controlled Intelligent Machine) and SAM (Semi Autonomous Machine). The system directs and controls the chairs' navigation by reading users' head movements and brainwaves.

Professor Hung Nguyen, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology and the project leader in the development of the smart , said that the Aviator project is significant in its potential to impact the broader Australian community.

"I'm interested in research outcomes that can assist people with illnesses and disabilities to achieve greater independence, and the Aviator technology does exactly that," said Professor Nguyen, who also developed Hypomon, a non-invasive diabetes monitoring system which is being commercialized by AiMedics and recently attracted a $1.94 million Commercialisation Australia grant.

"This research is significant because we now have the opportunity to apply the same technological approach to other disability aids. In future we may be able to use it help people with a range of tasks in their everyday lives, and adapt it so that it can be applied to different types of disabilities."

The Anthill SMART 100 applications were reviewed by a panel of 100 expert judges who were looking for innovative ideas that were novel and that had the potential to be commercially successful by meeting the needs of a specific target market.

In the case of Aviator, the commercial viability of the idea is now being tested; the technology is in the process of being made publicly available in partnership with UniQuest, UTS's research commercialisation partner.

UniQuest representative Leigh Angus said that the venture is currently seeking further investment in both research and development and that it provides an excellent opportunity for investors who are both financially and socially motivated.

"We're seeking a special investor who really wishes to see a venture make sound business decisions but also wishes to give back to society in significant ways," Angus said.

Angus believes that Aviator offers a unique opportunity to enhance the lives of people who are permanently and severely paralyzed or disabled.

"Aviator provides a lot of options for people who are unable to use a powered wheelchair because of their physical disabilities. Using this technology they can regain some mobility and independence in their lives."

Explore further: Poll: Americans skeptical of commercial drones (Update)

Provided by University of Technology, Sydney

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A (virtual) smart home controlled by your thoughts

May 11, 2009

Light switches, TV remote controls and even house keys could become a thing of the past thanks to brain-computer interface (BCI) technology being developed in Europe that lets users perform everyday tasks ...

Taking computer chat to a whole new level

May 30, 2008

Natural spoken dialogue technology has long been a dream for many. Advances by European researchers are making this a reality. The results of their work could soon be used to allow us to verbally interact with technology ...

An affordable future for eye tracking in sight

Apr 03, 2006

An ambitious five-year project will attempt to make eye-tracking technologies more affordable for people with disabilities and extend the potential use of the devices to enable users to live more independently.

Georgia Tech and Shepherd Study Wireless for Disabled

Oct 12, 2006

Wireless technologies add flexibility and mobility to most users’ lives, but disabled people often find access to these new technologies beyond their grasp. To address these challenges, Georgia Tech’s Center for Advanced ...

Recommended for you

Poll: Americans skeptical of commercial drones (Update)

21 hours ago

Americans broadly back tight regulations on commercial drone operators, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, as concerns about privacy and safety override the potential benefits of the heralded drone ...

Cheaper, more powerful VR system for engineers

Dec 17, 2014

It's like a scene from a gamer's wildest dreams: 12 high-definition, 55-inch 3D televisions all connected to a computer capable of supporting high-end, graphics-intensive gaming.

Nokia HERE prepares maps for autonomous cars

Dec 17, 2014

Autonomous cars will need a new kind of map, a crucial element that until now has been given a back seat to the more popularly discussed issues of sensors and legal questions. Senior Writer Greg Miller in ...

Dutch launch 'intelligent bicycle' that warns of danger

Dec 15, 2014

The Netherlands on Monday launched its first-ever "intelligent bicycle", fitted with an array of electronic devices to help bring down the high accident rate among elderly cyclists in the bicycle-mad country.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.