The design of Graphical User Interface (GUI) for electric wheelchair display device. — Scope | Disability forum
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The design of Graphical User Interface (GUI) for electric wheelchair display device.

Welcome to all members

Let me introduce myself, my name is Gregor Borowczyk, currently living in Edinburgh, I have no disability.

I'm in the process of a project development of an affordable, electric powered wheelchair capable of climbing stairs and some rough terrain.

I believe that such wheelchair may improve everyday life of people with mobility impairment, the project is carried for academic purpose (University project).

Apologise for posting that request in welcome message but I have to kindly ask members of this forum for help.

I need an information about a preferences of the users of wheelchairs of any kind, I need as much data as possible therefore, can I ask as many of you as possible to spend 5 minutes taking the survey created for the research of the best method of human interaction with such wheelchair?

I will be eternally grateful to you.

The survey is totally anonymous and conducted for the purpose of university project only, no personal details are collected.

For administrators of this forum, if my question is inappropriate here please remove this thread.

The survey is available via following link:

I wish you all best luck, and thank you for your time.


  • April2018mom
    April2018mom Posts: 2,872 Connected
    This is interesting. Thanks for the opportunity! 
  • david235
    david235 Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    I have had a look at your survey and I'm struggling with how to answer it, Gregor, as someone who has been a wheelchair user since the late 1990s and a powerchair user since 2007.

    Your survey is angled very much to GUI based interfaces, primarily using touchscreens. You also suggest the possibility of bringing your own Android, Fire OS or iOS device as part of the system.

    What I'm looking for in a wheelchair control system is high reliability first and foremost. My controls are going to get wet, they're probably going to get mucky, they're going to be exposed to whatever extremes of temperature and humidity the British climate can throw at them (in conjunction with my car, buses, trains and buildings). In winter, I'm often controlling my wheelchair with gloves on, so using capacitative touchscreens on my Android and Windows 10 devices is out of the question unless I'm going to switch to specialist touchscreen compatible gloves. Much of the time, I want my devices safely in my pocket or bag - other than my Wear OS watch, which will be on my wrist.

    There are stringent requirements placed on wheelchair control systems by international standards. If you can get hold of copies via your University library, I suggest reading BS ISO 7176-14:2008 (on control systems) and BS ISO 7176-21:2009 (on electromagnetic compatibility). Two key requirements from these documents is that a wheelchair control system has to be drivable with no more than minor speed and direction errors in the presence of 20V/m RF from 26MHz to 2.5GHz (BS ISO 7176-21:2009 paragraphs 5.2.3 and 5.2.5) which will rule out the use of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (both 2.4GHz) for speed and direction control, also the control system must be single fault safe (BS ISO 7176-14:2008 paragraph 7). I have not given full details of those requirements out of respect for copyright of the original documents. The single fault safe requirement would mean considerable supervisory logic would be needed between an app on a BYOD device and the motors and actuators.

    If you want more information on the climatic requirements for electric wheelchairs, see BS ISO 7176-9:2009.

    In practice, modern wheelchair control systems use high integrity techniques typically based around dedicated devices and a CAN bus - certainly this is the case for R-net, which is one of the market leading control systems. I certainly wouldn't want to move away from a joystick and buttons for motors and actuators - they work for most users. Those who have more complex needs will drive with head arrays and similar specialist control devices - on R-net these are connected to an input-output module or an Omni (which has a user interface as well as ports to connect input devices).

    Other than motors and actuators there isn't much else to control on most chairs - just lighting and the 'audible warning device'. Some more complex control systems have environmental controls and/or Bluetooth control capabilities, which are basically a programmable infra-red remote and a Bluetooth mouse controlled using the joystick. That's the opposite way round to what you're proposing - a R-net CJSM2 with Bluetooth allows you to use the wheelchair's control system to control a phone, tablet or laptop over Bluetooth.

    There is a lot of documentation on R-net online if you Google for it - it's not hard to find the technical manual, for example, also documentation on the Omni.

    Touchscreen interfaces on vehicles can make sense for ancillary features, such as navigation and entertainment systems in a car. I'm really not sure what place they have on a wheelchair.
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,545 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Borek1807 and a warm welcome to the community! I wish you the very best of luck with your study!

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