WHL / Wheelchair Race
About the Team
The Imperial College London will be competing with teams in several disciplines at CYBATHLON, including the competition for motorized wheelchairs. "At the beginning of our work, we noticed that for many people steering the wheelchair is difficult and cumbersome," explains Mahendran Subramanian, who heads the team. The group includes leading scientists from Imperial College in London in the fields of neurotechnology and human robotics, as well as industry partners, students and a dedicated group of pilots. "The approach that we have been pursuing for three years now is based on the combination of a gaze-based and semi-autonomous wheelchair system, that means the electric wheelchair is controlled by the pilot’s eye movements. CYBATHLON will be a real test for this system.
Pilot - Paul Moore
Paul has been a paraplegic for 40 years now, which means that can move his arms and hands like before. "I want to use my arms and hands, I want to strain and move them, so I use a manual wheelchair in my daily life. But of course, there are problematic situations, for example when it rains, when the wheels get wet and I can't hold an umbrella. In general, I try to anticipate how other people move in public when I’m on the road. Because we are at different heights, they often don't pay enough attention to me." explains the Englishman. Paul doesn't need an electric wheelchair, but he does see advantages, especially for longer trips or journeys, because he can relieve his arms and relax more. At CYBATHLON he is stepping into the top league of the most advanced motorized wheelchairs.