Update on Steve, and more new hardware.

A project log for Eye Controlled Wheelchair!

Open source system to drive powerchairs by eye movement alone - allowing independent mobility when use of a person's hands isn't an option.

Patrick JoycePatrick Joyce 07/18/2015 at 08:400 Comments

Steve is out of hospital now, and over the worst of his pneumonia. ALS makes you fragile however, and Steve is still a bit broken. He's not up to doing any testing yet, so, with the deadline looming I've taken over that role. Straight away I noticed a problem... The mk2 electronic hand attached to the joystick unit with velcro. This was inadequate because, as the user turned left or right, the hand would twist a little bit out of alignment. This meant that the chair then wouldn't go in a straight line. Steve came up with the idea of a locator plate, that would fix permanently to the chair, and that the hand would then sit on - locating it perfectly every time. When I came to fit my own 'Evans Locator' I found that it was hard to align the plate perfectly. So I have made the Mk2 evans locator plate. This one is adjustable, even after being fixed in place. I've printed it, and will fit it to my chair this morning. Then we will be back in business.

Being an inventor with ALS can be frustratiing. To perfect Eyedrivomatic I need to make small changes to the software, then test it - then make more changes and test again, and so on. The problem is that my hands don't work. I can't put the electronic hand on myself, and often I don't have a carer available to help me. I can't leave the electronic hand in place because I use the wheelchair joystick as a mouse to control the computer. This is why the partnership with Steve worked so well - because he does have a full time carer, and can test whenever he likes. Frustrating.

Mk2 Evans Locator Plate. (prior to assembly)

Mk3 Electronic Hand (note the four holes in the base plate for the prongs of the Evans Locator Plate)