DESIGN OF AN ELECTROMECHANICAL HANDS-FREE CONTROL USER INTERFACE
This article introduces the design of a novel patent pending user interface that provides multidirectional hands-free control for a diversity of mechanisms and a variety of activities. This versatile compact, modular electromechanical control system user interface can stand alone or be added to a device. Example applications for this control system are mobility devices, video games, exercise games (exergaming), skateboards, robotic devices, surveillance or movie camera controllers, or construction equipment. This system has multiple plates with sensors fixed to the device that moves, tilts, or deflects via the individual's movements, body lean, or gestures to provide the desired hands-free control. The upper body movement or leaning to operate this hands-free user interface can be compared to the action needed to manipulate a joystick. This solves the problem of continuous attention to the operation of a machine such as a wheelchair via one or both hands. To assess the operation of this controller it has been added to a power wheelchair to replace the joystick. The design and preliminary test results as a comparison of this controller to a previously developed hands-free dance wheelchair are presented.
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