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Robotic Wheelchairs and BlueTooth Enabled Speakers Boost Mobility

For people with substantial motor impairments, an autonomous robotic wheelchair would be of great help. The independence enhancing wheelchair developed by the Computer science students at Mount Holyoke College would hopefully aid people suffering from cerebral palsy and give them more control over their lives.

The wheelchair would create a map of its surroundings and then find itself in the map as it moves around in the South Hadley campus of the college. Laser sensors are used to find the location and to chart out paths to choice destinations, which are already designated. Its user interfaces and navigation systems are almost the same as that of the industrial robots. A touch screen can help the user to switch from fully automated to semi to even manual drives. The robot chair could also be worked from a remote PC, which is linked wirelessly to the chair. According to the students, many other user interfaces are also possible. The wheelchair is also highly adept at evading obstacles and plans are on for it to be used at the Boston Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. The Mount Holyoke College students had worked with faculty advisers that included William Kennedy, Daniel Barry and Audrey Lee St. John.

Normally, any wireless headset or speaker inevitably has a disadvantage in its poor sound quality. However the creators of the SuperTooth wireless devices refute this stating that they have developed the most powerful speakerphone, which is also microphone sensitive to precisely pick up the words uttered and translate it to Twitter updates. The SuperTooth HD would be available in the market from the month of April and consists of a 5.4 watt amplifier and five watt speakers. It works like other speakerphones accepting voice commands for dialing already dialed numbers and for voice mail. Social networking could also be done using this device from the road and send e-mails and text messages along updates to Twitter and Facebook accounts.

SuperTooth has one more product available on retail, the SuperTooth Disco, which contains a bass boosting button and a compact 28 watt speaker, which could be paired with the iPod Touch, smartphone or any other BlueTooth device where tunes are stored. It also has a battery that could be recharged and would continue to work for three hours before it needs to be recharged. A 3.5 mm cable also is given for plugging it into music players, which do not have BlueTooth.


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