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42003 | Master of Engineering Telecommunication | Engineering

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Various doctors and scientists from different parts of the world have come up with various models of wheelchairs to meet the requirements of severely disabled people. Previously it was observed that these wheelchairs were developed which lacked many improvements and the performance was distastefully poor. Decades earlier when technology lacked development wheelchairs were developed only to help people with certain amount of disorders, for instance, people with traumatic brain and injured spinal cords could use the electrically powered wheelchair which was interfaced with a joystick, therefore a certain amount of physical activity was required by hands for a wheelchair to function. People with complete paralysis were not beneficiated from these models.  

Previously many models like tongue-touch-keypad (TTK) and Electro-Oculo- Graphic (EOG) were used which had similar effects on users compared to that of TDS aligned model. even while the outcomes from these models produced were proved to have 100% success rate they had their own drawbacks which I plan on removing by developing my own proposal. 

My model of wheelchair introduces a new intelligent technology to users at a very low price of implementation. While the model has basic prototypical installments like that of the models previously researched and investigated on (Xueliang Huo 2008). It comprises of basic technology with hall effect sensors (capable of producing magnetic field deflections responsible for movement of the wheelchair ) involving RF transmitter, RF receiver, encoders, decoders and bunch of microcontrollers capable of interfacing with other assistive technologies like wireless monitoring system and eye-tracking signal processing like electrooculography (EOG), electromyography (EMG) which focuses on movement of eye to determine the next action of the wheelchair. The plan therefore properly evaluates the research work done by (Xueliang Huo 2008) & (Dr Haoxiang Li’s) (2016) and proposes a plan to  constructing the prototype model by collaborating my own ideas in designing a proper programming code to interfacing computer vision technology with the preceding model of wheelchair which consequently succeeds to represent a more efficient and efficacious model of wheelchair interfaced with TDS technology with respect to adequate speed performance and low cost of implementation.

Literature Review

This reading critically evaluates the research work produced by (Xueliang Huo 2008) & (Dr Haoxiang Li’s) (2016), reviewing the gaps produced in each of the research and implements a design of a prototype model interfaced with TDS technology which also  provides the  evidence for 100% performance rate when it comes to the efficiency of the model.

A typical TDS technology involves implanting a magnetic material on the tongue of the user using an adhesive tissue and three axial magneto-induced sensors on the wearable platform outside the mouth. The tongue drive system generally converts the magnetic signals induced due to the magnetic field variation produced between the tongue and sensors, into electrical signals which thereby gets transmitted into the receiver part of the system. The commands generated at the microcontroller are generally using to interpret and compare different information transfer rates between different interfaces and wheelchair system computers. Different criteria have been used to identify and critically evaluate the research work produced by other authors. the review work compares different articles based on the interfaces used. For instance, the development of Wheelchair Movement Control Based on Electrooculography (Nurul Muthmainnah Mohd Noor & Salmiah Ahmad) 2014 is a computer-brain interface where the system architecture tracks and positions the movement of the eye to move the wheelchair. The system here uses fundamentals of Fuzzy logic control to capture the movement of eye while the idea seems to be effective, the idea was quite hazardous and unsafe as the Electrooculography was causing inconvenience, disturbing the user’s daily eye vision. Reasons like this have been taken into account before coming up with a proposal to implementing the wheelchair motion interfaced with the tongue drive system. Another important criterion used to compare and classify the tongue interfaces and brain interface was “information transfer rate” which will be discussed briefly in the coming sections.

The different models like wolpaw also have used EEG-BCI interface which technically converted signals into electrical signals by tacking the position of eyes but was comparatively producing slow ITR typically 25bits per minute which was very slow not proving to be efficient. Another model of the wheelchair (Y. L. Chen) was using a Brain-computer interface where the system converts the signals 

Detected from the brain to drive the wheelchair, typically used by head control. The implementation cost for this model was high and not everyone can afford such high advanced model and also from what is studied from the paper the model has many problems with regards to interference and other signal-noise ratios ultimately ITR being 120 for 2.7 response time.

Coming to the important reading essentially being used by my model of wheelchair is (Dr Haoxiang Li’s) (2016). The wheelchair being used here is interfaced with highly advanced computer systems like camera-based control system, graphical user interface on tablet, with EPWs (electrically powered wheelchair) makes the wheelchair a small robot in hands, Many advantages it has with respect to another model produced in recent times is, it is fixed with 360 degrees angle rotation which gives the user a 360* angle view of his choice while also the microcontrollers capable of supporting high capacity sensors and other head control modules finally projects a superior model of wheelchair with its highly advanced technology pushing the implementation costs to a level not affordable by poor people.

Therefore, my model of wheelchair uses few concepts from the (Dr Haoxiang Li’s) (2016) reading while aims to implement a low price and highly efficient prototype which proves to have high ITR similar to 130bits per minute in a maximum response time of 0-8s.

Research Question, Aim & Sub-goals

Research question this reading answers to is 

How effectively can a wheelchair user with 90% disability use the machine as a substitute to meet the requirement of hands and legs? while also producing the project for users at an affordable cost, giving access to people from all social backward classes.

The main research question of the proposal inquiries the idea of efficiency of wheelchairs of the previous models from the recent research of the academics, while it also aims to implement a model of wheelchair which is capable of giving the wheelchair access to different social backgrounds (severely disabled people from less fortunate families who can’t afford an expensive high tech intelligent robotic wheelchair).

While the goal of the project is to use less expensive infrastructure, the model here uses a small magnetic material which is placed in the users mouth when compared with any previous models of wheelchair is going to prove most convenient and less hazardous. the microcontrollers are interfaced with wireless monitoring system and computer vision technology which potentially substitutes the works of hands and legs by providing the users with self-independent life.

An empirical analysis so far provided by the researchers is seen to be illogical when the cost of implementation is to be considered. My idea of wheelchair development looks into each of the data collected from the research (as discussed in the literature review) and I am inclined to produce a cheap model of the wheelchair while interfacing the wheelchair with all possible infrastructures at low cost. The following theory will define the concepts used in my model of the wheelchair while also providing the essentials required to make the project a low budget model 

Theoretical Content

The project is followed by different concepts and theoretical analysis is presented from the research article “A Magneto-Inductive Sensor Based Wireless Tongue-Computer Interface” (Xueliang Huo). From the reading, it is quite evident that the eTDS technology works efficiently providing people with severe disability proper flexibility and environmental control with computer access

The concept of A tongue drive system uses and converts the magnetic deflections between a small permanent magnet implanted on user’s mouth (using an adhesive tissue) and the hall effect sensors placed outside the mouth considerably a prototype model of a helmet into electrical signals which are thereby used by the system to powerup and drive the wheelchair.

Considerably, the theoretical evidence provided in the recent articles proves the following steps to be successful and submissively effective when ITR (information transfer rate) is considered. According to the studies it can be found that the electrical signals generated due to the magnetic deflections between magnets and the three-axial linear magneto-inductive sensors are generally transmitted to the receiver part of the system through wireless radio frequency channels which are then used by the various interfaces in my model of wheelchair like wireless monitoring computer control, user environments and most importantly the signals converted into commands are used to drive the wheelchair DC motors

Previously from the academics, the TDS technology has been studied and tested on six able-bodied subjects where the information transfer rate between the subject and the computer access has proved to be something similar to 130 bits per minute for all the 87% correct responses done in 0.8s. 

My model of wheelchair simply uses the same structure with less modules and different infrastructure as compared to other models from different other articles. TDS technology in my structure uses hall effect sensors to read the magnetic fluctuations which are reportedly cheap in price where meets my criteria of making the project a cheap one, and gets rid of all the other technologies that are interfaced in the above model. For instance, the Dr Haoxiang Li’s model uses a PDA (personal digital assistant) interfaced into a wheelchair provides the wheelchair with capability to connect and interact with various other devices at home which only increases the price of implementation as it requires generating and modeling a proper programming code and not to mention more improved capacity, storage available microcontrollers are to be used.

Simply put in words my designing of wheelchair blueprint presents a new structure of connections interfaced with very few known technologies that make the Wheelchair motion powered by tongue gesture technology a renewed platform for users to use while a conventional output of 130bits per minutes is expected out of it like it was previously shown.

Experimental Set-up

The wheelchair essentially is made of the following components:

DC motors, batteries, a wheelchair, head covering installed with hall effect sensors

A permanent magnet piercing, breadboards, connecting wires

RF transmitters, RF receivers, decoders and encoders connected to antennas for radio frequency wireless transmission

Series of microcontrollers – on being burned with an intelligent microprocessor controlling programme code, is capable of interfacing with wireless monitoring system, computer vision technology, and wearable eye centric camera

Microcontroller Programming code – a properly generated code from MATLAB

• The program codes required to be run by the microcontrollers are generally compiled by PIC C compiler and then simulated by Proteus 7 (Embedded C)

To design, implement and develop a successful working prototype of a wheelchair interfaced with TDS technology the following reading emphasises on the below mentioned conceptual analysis

Tongue drive system hardware analysis 

Information transfer rate – is the basis on which the following readings are being classified and the outcome results are being established below in the outcome chart

• It is defined as data bits transfer per message during the communication of data.

• It is calculated for different tongue directions and a proper database is projected which 

• The information transfer rate is used to compare the performance of different tongue-computer interfaces by unevenly calculating the amount of beneficial information (certainly in bits) that can be transferred from the user to a computer within a minute. We calculate the ITR based on Wolpaw’s definition which follows as

   Where N is system commands ie the commands received from the deflections between the tongue and sensors: T is the system response time

Hall effect sensors – three-axial linear magnetic inductive sensor device modules that we use are hall effect sensors. They are placed on the helmet and are generally responsible for detecting the magnetic fluctuations taking place between magnet placed on the tongue and sensors

• They are responsible for converting the magnetic field variation signals into electrical signals 

• Hall effect sensors are known to be cheap and help me reduce the cost of implementation of projects typically by replacing any costly sensors available on the market which ultimately meets my project goals.

Many articles when published lack an important criterion which I think is most essential to make the project meet a 99% efficiency rate is managing the signal to noise ratio  Another important topic to be mentioned while evaluating the performance of the TDS technology interfaced with a wheelchair is External Magnetic Interference Cancellation

• Magneto induced sensors are highly sensitive when detecting the magnetic deflections i.e. they are inevitably affected by the earth’s gravitational force which has to be minimized to obtain a proper output result

My idea of a wheelchair also provides the system with an alternate solution to deal with the above mention problem with external magnetic interference. We simply tend to use another pair of magneto-induced sensors to observe, calculate and repel the signals obtained from the sensors in a series of data transmission tests. The three-axial magneto induced sensors are placed virtually opposite to the sensors already placed on the helmet, therefore, canceling the effect and solving the problem.

Tongue drive system software analysis

The microcontrollers require software codes to run and drive the motors of the wheelchair and to interface the microcontrollers with more fashioned low-price technology like wearable eye vision computer technology, it even requires an improved version of formulated data code

 the complete project requires different software like express PCB, pic c compiler and proteus 7

Express PCB – printed circuit boards are generally used to design the blueprints for breadboards. Breadboards are basically holders which hold the circuit connections between various system components like capacitors, resistors, microcontrollers, encoders and decoders, etc

Pic C compiler-  it is used to compile the software programme (12bit op-code) it is responsible to convert the software programme written by an engineer into hexagonal code understandable by the microcontrollers

Proteus 7-  An important software that burns down the hexagonal code prepared by the compiler into the microcontroller 

Ultimately the required design of wheelchair motion powered by tongue gesture technology is produced with limitations concerning the interfaces we connect the microcontrollers with i.e. interfacing of complex technologies to the project result in complex hardware designing  eventually resulting in limitations like high implementations costs, poor efficiency rate and most importantly inconvenience cause in setting up the model onto the user for example interfacing of the eye vision technology onto to severely paralysed user might result blocking, obstructing his natural vision but might have advantages of its own as the interface is computerized and is monitored using a computer technology which improves the efficiency of the user environment. These are but few reasons and examples that prove to my limitations as well as advantages of its own  

Results, Outcome and Relevance

The results obtained are totally emphasised on the information transfer rate between the computer database with respect to the interfaces with the microcontroller

Comparisons between the tongue drive system and other brain-computer interfaces

The data obtained above is the information transfer rate for every command generated from various interfaces like brain-computer interface and tongue computer interface with computer technology. IT can clearly be observed that for 6 commands generated ITR is similar to 130 bits per minute for the response time 0.8 which is highest compared to any other results produced in the readings. 

While ITR is not the only aspect to be compared between different models it is supposedly the best parameter to measure the effectiveness of each of these models. Other parameters to be measured in a typical prototype model of the wheelchair involve calculating the frequency ration, noise to signal ratio and other power parameters like power consumption, power generation, etc which can be calculated using various formulas when implementing the actual structure of the project.

The outcome designed is the evidence for my theoretical work produced in this paper proving my proposal to be successful combining all the necessary work is done and the work to be undertaken.

Project Planning and Gantt Chart

The project planning is certainly divided into four major portions,

First, one being the preparation and designing of the structure of the project majorly involves the collection of resources, purchasing of project components and designing the blueprint of the structure on which the project will supposedly be built upon. Requires 3 weeks of time (21 days) of the total time.

Secondly, the development and implementation of the design formed which significantly plays an important role in the complete project timeline. It involves handling the equipment sensitively and implementing the practical structure which also making sure the results are being obtained correctly for each step being executed which might take upon 6 weeks of total time (42 days)

The third step involves simulation and compilation of software programming code using various software to run the computer system on the wheelchair which typically involves 2 weeks of time ( 12 days) 

In the end, comes self-evaluation and checking the outcome results before the prototype model can be delivered which holds 4 weeks of the time (28 days) as the process requires running the system right from the scratch for error corrections.

A Gantt chart has been implemented to properly evaluate the timeline for project completion


This reading proposes a plan to implement a design for wheelchair motion interfaced with the tongue drive system (TDS) which is capable of mobilizing people with 90% disability, giving them a self-dependent life. Unlike other wheelchairs which were interfaced with TTK( Tongue touch keypad) as discussed in the paper, this wheelchair interfaced with tongue drive system involves using of the small magnetic piece instead of bulky magnetic material is likely to have many advantages over any other models, is prone to succeed with maximum speed and ease of control. From the plan to develop the design and implement the wheelchair interfaced with TDS and other assistive technologies if needed, it is evident that the efficiency of the wheelchair is certainly greater than any other model, providing support to the users with severe paralysis and other disabilities.

Hence a proper proposal and plan has been implemented to design and develop “wheelchair motion powered by tongue gesture technology” demonstrating various constructions between different interfaces and representing the evidence to meet the research goal to help severely disabled people live a self-independent life.

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