Development and Testing of a New Drop-Off Detection System for Powered Wheelchairs

Edvier Cabassa-Miranda1 ; Edmund F. LoPresti2, 3 , PhD; Casimir Mostowy3 ; Vinod Sharma2
1 Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, Puerto Rico; 2 Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, 3 AT Sciences, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Two infrared sensors for detecting drop-offs (e.g. descending stairs or curbs) were designed, developed, and tested to determine their performance for different kind of surfaces, lighting conditions, heights and angles. The sensor that has the best performance across conditions will be part of an obstacle avoidance system for powered wheelchairs, intended to stop the wheelchair in a safe way before it arrives at a drop.


Drop-off; Power Wheelchairs; Sensors; Infrared; Laser


The funding for this research was provided in part by the National Science Foundation, Project EEC 0552351 and in part by NIH SBIR 5R44HD040023-03.


Edvier Cabassa-Miranda
University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus
P.O. Box 5052
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 00681
Phone: (787) 568-6533