Being confined to a wheelchair can be limiting for individuals, especially if they do not have the motor control to drive the device. A group of students in a course at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) created an app for Google Glass that would allow patients to control a powered wheelchair without using their hands.
The resulting spin-off is named GlassChair, based in Munich, Germany. The system relies on a wireless Bluetooth connection to link to the wheelchair controls, and uses a combination of speech recognition and head tracking. A spoken command launches the application, and then you can simply nod your head in the direction that you wish to travel. You can also control the wheelchair speed through the selection of different driving profiles. The system also includes the ability to send an alert to a caregiver or other contact if you are in a situation where you need assistance; the system automatically notifies them of your location.
The system is not yet available for purchase, and the Google Glass on which it is based is not currently on the market either. The system has been developed to the prototype stage, and presumably could be adopted to other head-mounted computing platforms instead of Google Glass. It is an excellent demonstration of how a wearable device can be used in conjunction with other technology in order to extend the adaptive solutions available to patients with limited mobility.