Mexican scientists have thought up a way to implant artificial intelligence (AI) into a walker to provide those who need one added mobility.
The prototype is built on a normal walker, but in each of the rear wheels, a movement is generated by an engine similar to that of two electric bikes. The handles are replaced by a micro system sensor that will measure the strength used by a person to make sure they are in constant contact with the walker.
The walker is connected to a small computer and a bicycle battery that allows for an Internet connection, through which the information of the handle sensors and wheels is controlled. A person’s gait patterns can be measured, and if there is an abnormal situation, the walker tries to help. If there’s a serious situation, like a person falls from the walker, the machine sends an alert signal that can send the location out for medical assistance.
A person’s daily activities are tracked by the walker. It can know the physical activity of the user according to the register of the number of steps, the size of them, their frequency and the strength applied in the moment of walking.
“With the walker, elders can enjoy more of their free time outside their homes, because it is a robot with a certain intelligence that was created to bring help to these people,” said Professor Ulises Cortés, one of the scientists behind the walker concept.
For now, the project, which began in 2004, is still in the initial stages. The scientists are looking for funding, though Cortés is confident that it could come to the market soon at an affordable price.
However, while they wait for potential funding, they are working to add more functions to the walker, including cross-communication with other walkers to allow someone with a similar machine to inform if there is a problem or pratfall in the environment. A children’s version of the walker model is also being developed.