Prevailing technological solutions that address the problems experienced by the infirm and elderly people, for their locomotion needs, offer limited options when it comes to control mechanism and customization. For more than a decade, joysticks have served the purpose of steering and navigation of autonomous wheelchairs. An alternative gesture-based method, for navigation of wheelchairs by the physically impaired, could very well replace the conventional joystick controls. A prototype system, 'Mudra' (Sanskrit word for gesture), incorporates a gesture capture module, developed for recognition and identification of hand gestures. Mudra is a no-nonsense user-friendly system that enables control of the navigational platform, merely by four gestures of the human hand. This paper presents a comprehensive report on implementation of Mudra system's hardware and software, performance analysis and safety evaluation. Verification tests of the conceptual design show promising results, where 97.8% of the hand gestures were recognized accurately. Furthermore, the response timings of wheelchairs with Mudra controls were noticeably faster than the joystick-based wheelchairs, as affirmed by live testing with wheelchair-users. Pursuant to the positive feedback from the wheelchair-user experience, we conclude that Mudra's gesture controlled wheelchairs would be preferable alternative to joystick controlled wheelchairs.
Rajesh Kannan Megalingam, Rangan, V., Veliyara, P., Krishna, R. Raj, Prabhu, R., Katoch, R., Koppaka, G. Sai Apuroo, and Sankaran, R., “Design, Analysis and Performance Evaluation of Hand Gesture Platform for Navigation”, Technol Health Care, 2019.