A wireless, wearable and multimodal body-machine interface design framework for individuals with severe disabilities

Authors: Fall, Cheikh Latyr
Advisor: Gosselin, BenoitGosselin, Clément
Abstract: Assistive technologies play an important role in the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities, in particular in improving their autonomy. Tools such as motorized wheelchairs, assistive robotic arms, etc, require interaction through dedicated interfaces capable of translating the user’s intention. Individuals whose level of paralysis allows good residual abilities can interact with control interfaces requiring mechanical intervention and a good level of dexterity (joysitck, control buttons, keyboard, switch, mouse etc). However, certain types of disability (spinal cord injury or malformation, cerebral palsy, trauma following an accident, congenital absence of upper body limbs, etc.) may result in loss of autonomy of the fingers, forearms or arms, making it impossible to use these control tools. Therefore, it is essential to design alternative solutions to overcome this lack. Researchers around the world are realizing technological prowess by designing body-machine interfaces adapted to specific handicaps. Some of them use bio-physiological signals (electromyography (EMG), electroencephalography (EEG), electrocorticography (ECoG), electrocculography (EOG)), images of the muscular, cerebral and occulographic activity of the human body, for translation into means of control with respect to a movement, an intention formulated by the brain, etc. Others use image sensors that can be robust in a given environment, to translate the direction of gaze, the position of the head, or facials expressions, into control vectors. Although they were proved to be efficient, these techniques are sometimes too expensive, sensitive to the environment in which they are used, can be cumbersome and counter-intuitive, which explains the gap between existing needs, research and development, and the market of commercially available alternative control solutions. This project provides a "framework" that enables the design of flexible, modular, adaptive and wearable body-machine interfaces for the severely disabled. The proposed system, which implements a wireless and multimodal body sensor network, allows for different types of modalities the measure the residual capacities of individuals with severe disabilities for translation into intuitive control commands. The architecture is designed to accommodate different types of disabilities and provide a wide range of control scenarios. Ultimately, the body-machine interface that this project proposes, explores new approaches, aiming to overcome the limitations of existing solutions and to promote the autonomy of life of individuals with disabilities.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 11 July 2019
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/35440
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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