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Mobility Device with Health Monitor Developed for Disabled

i-Transport (National Cheng Kung University)

i-Transport (National Cheng Kung University)

Biomedical engineers at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Taiwan built a robotics device that provides mobility, lifting, standing, and health monitoring for disabled persons. The team led by NCKU engineering professors Fong-Chin Su and Tain-Song Chen demonstrated the system at a recent forum sponsored by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education.

The device, known as the i-Transport, provides mobility, lifting, and standing functions for people with disabilities. The researchers say it has a lightweight frame, which can be adjusted to the user’s height and position, to assist the disabled to move and stand do daily chores, as well as get around and meet their needs for independence.

The intelligent controller in the i-Transport is based on a field-programmable gate array, a semiconductor that can be programmed after manufacuring, made by Altera Corporation in the U.S. The controller in turn, is powered by a Nios II multi-core processor for developing the device’s software, also by Altera. The controller circuit covers the electric motor that moves the device from one place to another, as well as the robotic arm, and operator’s control panel.

The i-Transport was designed with a built-in health monitoring system for tracking the operator’s blood pressure and breathing. The device can be programmed to generate a warning if the physiological measurements exceed pre-determined safety levels.

The research team also includes industrial design professor Kuoh-Siang Chen and electrical engineering professor Ying-Shi Gong of Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology, and occupational therapy professor Jyh-Jong Chang of Kaohsiung Medical University.

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