New software could be ‘universal controller’ for mobility equipment


A team of students is developing a piece of software that would allow different devices to be controlled in a variety of different ways, such as via voice controls, joysticks, or eye tracking. 

The software, called Universal Controller, is designed to help people with different disabilities control things like wheelchairs in the way that best suits their specific needs. 

The team from Imperial College London have developed three prototype systems to demonstrate the Universal Controller.

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One is a system for controlling a robotic arm that can be connected with various different input devices and another is an interface with Amazon Alexa for users with limited vocal capabilities.

The software will be open-source, meaning developers can contribute and develop the system further, create add-ons, and adapt it to their own requirements. 

Team member, Fiona Boyce, said: “We want to be able to make technology more adaptable for individual needs. Most assistive technology is bespoke, which means it’s expensive.

“Additionally, devices have completely different operating systems and communication methods so don’t interact with one another.

“Our idea is to create software that would bridge this gap and make it easier for developers to incorporate accessibility into their products.” 

Tags : assistive technologyimperial college londonsoftwaretechnology
Joe Peskett

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