First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Intelligent wheelchair controlled by Vaio UX50
- — 05 November, 2006 09:00
The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tokyo has a great rep for coming out with all manner of useless, but cool, gadgets, which makes its recent unveiling of a prototype "intelligent" wheelchair something of a first.
The robotic assistant uses an amazing array of 36 cameras on a stick to feed a 360-degree view to a Sony Vaio UX50 mounted in front of the user, an arrangement the Institute is branding in Japanese as an "all-direction stereo system" or "SOS" for short.
Aside from the all-round scope, the chair has Wi-Fi to send data and images to remote displays, the ability to message cell phones to summon help if necessary, and can be controlled by a rider's hand gestures to, for example, move forward to grab that can of Asahi Super Dry off the table. Most fun of all, it can even be remote controlled, opening up Japan's wheelchair users to all sorts of japery.