A Remote-Controlled Shopper for the Disabled

Michael Henninghaus, Gerd Nolden

Daily life is challenging for the disabled and quite often they have to manage alone. In particular, they need the help of others to do their shopping, which can become very expensive over time. We have designed and constructed a shopper that gives disabled people new independence. Even when disabled people are sick or bedbound, they can easily shop using our remote-controlled shopper.

Initially, we planned to modify an electric wheelchair so that the disabled person could easily convert it to a shopper, keeping its original function. However, the enormous cost of electric wheelchairs (ca. DM 20 000) forced us to find a more cost effective solution, which turned out to be an advantage as it means that also less wealthy people can benefit from our invention.

To our knowledge there is no remote-controlled vehicle available to the disabled that can carry goods and that is equipped with a wireless system that transmits audio and video. Therefore, our goal was to develop such a vehicle in a cost-effective way.

Our vehicle has a CCD-camera, that transmits images to the receiver that is connected to the disabled person's TV. Additionally, we installed two radio transceivers, so that the disabled person can see and hear the surroundings of the shopper and talk to shop assistants and other people from their living room. The shopper is controlled via a modified remote control.

We hope that our remote-controlled shopper will make a contribution to improving the quality of life of the disabled.

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