The Assistive Mobility System (AMS) team is a Carleton Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department Capstone project focused on developing new and innovative assistive mobility devices.
Within the AMS team, there are two sub-teams; the Versatile Assistive Roaming System (VARS) Team and the Mobile intelligent Carrying Assistant (MiCA) Team. The VARS team is developing a seated three-wheeled bike with assistive motors for powered movement on flat terrain and up and down slopes. Its goal is to aid individuals with mobility issues and allow them to walk and jog longer distances without worrying about balance, it may also have applications with rehabilitation for people with leg injuries. The MiCA team is developing a modular intelligent following robot capable of carrying cargo. This year MiCA will aim to track and follow a person on foot and on-board the VARS system.
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The goal for our campaign is simple. We want to make people’s lives easier.
VARS will provide users with a range of mobility issues with assistance walking and jogging. We aim to design and build a system that is modular and customizable which will allow VARS to be used by a range of people with different mobility requirements. Customization will come in the form of different seats, handlebars, and braking mechanisms. We would like VARS to be able to provide assistance for as many people as possible and have built the system around the idea of assistive motors which allow users to travel longer distances with less effort and chance of injury compared to other mobility systems.
MiCA will be developed of existing hardware and its modularity will allow it to be used as a robust robotics test platform for future Carleton students. By the end of this year it will be able to provide assistance to users by carrying bags and other items while following them without the need for input from the user or modification of the environment. In future years of the project, more features will be able to be added to MiCA and its ability to operate in varying environments will be expanded.
Together VARS and MiCA will allow users with mobility issues to navigate their environments easier and safer.
Funds from this future funder will go towards procuring equipment and resources to help us bring our visions for MiCA and VARS to life.
As VARS is a new project this year, funding is required to manufacture the prototype – from the large and sturdy frame to the smallest screws fastening components in place.
Many crucial components such as motors, batteries, braking mechanisms, tires, and handlebars need to be purchased and incorporated into the system.
MiCA is being built off of an existing platform but requires new sensors in order to navigate its environment. Stereo cameras will allow MiCA to map and understand the environment and be able to follow and aid the user.
MiCA currently has an exterior made of metal and wood, which is functional, but certainly not friendly. Funding from this campaign would also allow a custom shell to be manufactured which would help protect the electronics and make MiCA more “friend-shaped”.
Replacement of MiCA’s on-board computer will allow her to process data faster in order to respond to changing environments and avoid dynamic obstacles such as pedestrians weaving through crowds. It will also allow her to perform object recognition so that she can recognize the user in order to follow them and not other nearby people.
Finally, over the course of the year, MiCA will need to be tested very frequently as she is upgraded and as new features are added. During this testing, if any components fail or break, funding will allow them to be replaced.
Our team has the creativity, knowledge, and drive to bring these visions to life, but we can’t do it without your help!
Through the success of this capstone project in its first year, we hope to encourage other students to take up this task in coming years and improve upon our designs. We hope that every year this project can become better and more helpful to a larger number of individuals.
Academically, we hope that the challenges that this design project encompasses will allow all of us involved to improve our engineering and design skills. On a personal level, we hope that this project will inspire us to continually aim to improve people’s lives in all of our future work. In the community, we hope that VARS and MiCA will succeed at making people’s lives easier and that the technology can be used by anyone in the community, or around the world.