The elderly often rely on wheelchairs to maintain mobility and independence, but wheelchairs have limitations when it comes to navigation of tight spaces, difficult terrain or going up and down stairs.
Prof Ming Liu has built an autonomous all-terrain wheelchair, equipped with Light Imaging - Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensors - robotic perception and navigation systems that can provide guidance akin to self-driving cars. The model will be capable of adjusting movement based on complex environments and obstacles, and move based on the surrounding 3D information.
His expertise on robotics and design will be applied on an autonomous guided vehicle (AGV) platform prototype used for indoor navigation of narrow corridors and obstacles at select Haven of Hope Christian Service’s elderly care centers (HOHCS). The robotic platform will be capable of carrying heavy loads from wheelchairs and medical supplies to food and equipment. This technology is aimed at streamlining logistics and operations at the elderly care centers, potentially alleviating manual resources at the service centers so that they can provide more dedicated care to the elderly.
The trial will also garner valuable information on possible improvements to the AGV prototype so that it can be further customized.
Prof Ming Liu is Assistant Professor of Electronic & Computer Engineering at HKUST. He has extensive experience in auto-guided vehicles, robotic perception, and deep reinforcement learning.