Smart assisted mobility through shared control techniques

Dans le cadre du projet ADAPT (Interreg IV A FMA), Tom Carlson, enseignant-chercheur de l’University College of London, donnera un séminaire intitulé « Smart assisted mobility through shared control techniques » ce jeudi 21 septembre à 14h en salle 301 du MIS. Il abordera, notamment, des problématiques de commande partagée utilisateur/automatique dans le cadre « santé » du fauteuil roulant instrumenté. 


Millions of people around the world suffer from mobility impairments and hundreds of thousands of them use powered wheelchairs to regain a degree of independence. However, many users struggle to operate these devices effectively and a further 2 million people are currently incapable of operating these traditional mobility aids.

We explore the progress made in shared control systems, whereby the system (be it a wheelchair or exoskeleton) is able to perceive its surrounding environment and understand the context in which users are operating, so that it can help them achieve their goals safely and effectively. The control strategy is also inherently dependent upon the type of user interface employed, so we also characterise the implications of various interfaces, from the popular joystick and head array to the more obscure sip-and-puff switch and even brain-computer interfaces. Finally, we look at how we can adapt the system to reflect the ever-evolving needs and capabilities of the user and further how we can deal with conflict between the user’s input and the system’s control signals.

Dr Tom Carlson is a Senior Lecturer (associate professor) at the Aspire CREATe (Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology), University College London, UK. He completed both his MEng in Electronics (2006) and his PhD in Intelligent Robotics (2010) at Imperial College London, UK. He also spent 3.5 years working as a postdoctoral research associate in the CNBI lab, Centre for Neuroprosthetics, EPFL, Switzerland. His research focus is on the user-centred design of assistive robotic technologies for people with spinal cord injuries. He is particularly interested in developing shared control techniques for wheelchairs, robotic exoskeletons and brain-machine interfaces. He is currently involved in two large, collaborative European projects: ADAPT (INTERREG VA) and CROWDBOT (Horizon 2020), as well as several local projects.

He is an active member of the IEEE Systems Man and Cybernetics society and co-founded the IEEE SMC Technical Committee on Shared Control in 2012, which he co-chaired until 2015. Together with Dr Marie Babel (IRISA, Rennes, France), Dr Carlson runs the INRIA associated team ISI4NAVE, which investigates “Innovative sensors and adapted interfaces for assistive navigation and pathology evaluation”. Since 2016, he is also a visiting professor at the Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut–Cambrésis, France.