Who says wheelchairs have to be boring? A sweet new ride developed at Sweden's Luleå University of Technology features a cutting edge navigational laser that lets the visually impaired venture out on their own.
The laser-equipped wheelchair scans the environment as it moves forward and creates a 3D map of the surroundings. But wait, you say, blind people can't see? Rather than a visual image, the map information is sent to the wheelchair occupant using a haptic interface. They may not be able to see the door in front of them, but they will be able feel it. A joystick will let them move around any obstacle in their way.
More than just a concept, visually impaired student Daniel Innala Ahlmark has already taken the wheelchair on its maiden run. He successfully navigated the halls of the University and said he felt safe while using the system. A production ready model will be available within the next five years, which, in the grand scheme of things, is not that far off. [Gizmag]