The Assistive Robotic Transport for Youngsters (ARTY) is a smart, robotic wheelchair designed to give the freedom of independent mobility to young children with disabilities, particularly those who are unable to use a regular powered wheelchair safely. ARTY can be used as a daily assistive living tool or as a training tool in hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
ARTY’s design integrates ideas from robotics technology to prevent unsafe situations. Using a combination of sensors, ARTY perceives its environment and makes control decisions to avoid crashes. Although ARTY can be fully autonomous (it can drive itself), we believe a shared-control approach is more natural for most individuals, particularly children who may graduate on to use a regular powered wheelchair.
A Short FAQ
Q: Can ARTY avoid all kinds of obstacles?
ARTY can avoid things that its sensors can see. Recent student led projects have extended ARTY to detect kerbs and drop-offs and provide feedback to the driver via a force-feedback joystick.
Q: Will ARTY be made open-source?
Some elements (those under our copyright) will be made available. I’m currently packaging the obstacle avoidance code into a ROS package that I will make free online. In the meantime, for details, you can refer to my publications.
Q: Can I take ARTY for a test drive?
It depends. Do send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what we can set up.
Q: Is ARTY available commercially?
Not yet. ARTY is a research project within the Personal Robotics Lab at Imperial College London. It is currently being field tested at a London hospital.