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: Google building fleet of package-delivering drones

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

China's Alibaba plans IPO for week of September 8

12 hours ago

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to hold its initial public offering on the US stock market the week of September 8, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Tablet sales slow as PCs find footing

13 hours ago

Tablets won't eclipse personal computers as fast as once thought, according to studies by market tracker International Data Corporation (IDC).

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

13 hours ago

The latest banks are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Startups, such as Moven and Simple, offer banking that's designed specifically for smartphones, enabling users to track their spending on the go. Some things ...

FIXD tells car drivers via smartphone what is wrong

Aug 29, 2014

A key source of anxiety while driving solo, when even a bothersome back-seat driver's comments would have made you listen: the "check engine" light is on but you do not feel, smell or see anything wrong. ...

User comments : 0