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IROS 2012 Workshop on Progress, Challenges and Future Perspectives in Navigation and Manipulation Assistance for Robotic Wheelchairs

When Oct 12, 2012
from 08:30 AM to 06:00 PM
Where Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
Contact Name
Contact Phone +32 16 322528
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This full day workshop is part of the IROS 2012 conference in Vilamoura, Portugal.





Research on robotic wheelchairs has been performed for over 20 years now, yet no commercially available system is currently available on the market. However, the increasing use of sensors and navigation assistance in the automotive market is likely to eliminate earlier bottlenecks for commercial robotic wheelchairs. Furthermore, with the advent of novel and powerful sensors, with the development of novel planning and statistical algorithms, and due to the ever increasing speed and memory of nowadays computers, research in this field is still very active today.
This workshop fits well in the IROS 2012 theme of robots for quality of life, and in the theme "robotic adaptation to humans adapting to robots" of the FP7 project RADHAR that co-organises this workshop ( The workshop will present recent developments, current bottlenecks and future directions in the field of navigation and manipulation assistance for robotic wheelchair users. More specifically, the workshop welcomes papers on novel human-machine interfaces, approaches and design guidelines for navigation and manipulation shared control, benchmarking and evaluation of such assistive approaches by end users, and modelling and prediction techniques of dynamic environments.


Intended audience

In the first place, we want to bring together researchers working on shared control navigation or manipulation algorithms for robotic wheelchairs. This also includes related topics such as human-machine interfacing, driver modelling, intention estimation, and estimation and prediction of the driver’s dynamic surroundings. The presented topics will also be of interest for researchers working on navigation assistance for other vehicles such as cars, agricultural vehicles or forklift trucks.
The secondary audience includes physiotherapists, wheelchair users and industry representatives who want to steer future research toward real-world challenges and who want to find out about and use the latest results in the field of robotic navigation or manipulation assistance.



The workshop aims to address the following questions:

  • How to make shared control systems intuitive and trustworthy?
  • How to evaluate and compare shared control systems? What are good benchmark tests?
  • What are the bottlenecks to bring shared control systems to the market?


List of topics

Topics of the workshop will include:

  • Navigation and manipulation assistance algorithms, i.e. shared control for robotic wheelchairs: approaches, design guidelines, evaluation and comparison
  • Driver modelling and adaptation: prediction of driver signals, stress detection, estimation of focus-of-attention
  • Intention estimation or plan recognition
  • Novel human-machine interfaces: haptic joystick, brain-computer interface, voice control, eye tracking
  • Modelling of dynamic obstacles’ motion and socially-compliant motion planning
  • Environment modelling: object recognition, traversability estimation, estimation of surface characteristics
  • Bringing assistive robots to the market: legal and ethical issues, key enablers and major roadblocks
  • User tests and benchmark experiments



Preliminary programme and speakers


8.30 - 8.40Introduction by the organizers
8.40 - 10.30 Session 1: novel human-machine interfaces, wheelchair designs and control approaches
Session chair and co-chair: Eric Demeester and Jaime Valls Miro
8.40-9.00 Intention Gathering from Muscle Residual Activity for the Severely Disabled
Claudio Castellini and Risto Kõiva
9.00-9.20 Design of a Navigation Assistance System for Teleoperated Robots Based on Augmented Virtuality
T.J. Mateo Sanguino, J.M. Andújar Márquez, T. Carlson and J. del R. Millán
9.20-9.40 Concept, Modeling and Robust Control of a New Type of Wheelchair
Benjamin Henke, Yukinori Sagou, Kazuhiko Terashima and Oliver Sawodny
9.40-10.00 Novel DDSS Omnidirectional Mobile Beds by Power Assist Control with Estimation of Human Intention Using Neuro-Fuzzy Method
Kazuhiko Terashima and Yuki Ueno
10.30 - 11.00 Coffee break
11.00 - 12.20 Session 2: semi-autonomous navigation strategies
Session chair and co-chair: Urbano Nunes and Eric Demeester
11.00-11.20 Probabilistic Activity Models to Support Activities of Daily Living for Wheelchair Users
Mitesh Patel, Jaime Valls Miro and Gamini Dissanayake
11.20-11.40 Context-Based Face Control of a Robotic Wheelchair
Arturo Escobedo, Jorge Rios-Martinez, Anne Spalanzani and Christian Laugier
11.40-12.00 Manual Control for Driving an Intelligent Wheelchair: A Comparative Study of Joystick Mapping Methods
Brígida Mónica Faria, Luís Ferreira, Luís Paulo Reis, Nuno Lau, Marcelo Petry and João Couto Soares
12.00-12.20 Wheelchair Navigation Assistance in the FP7 Project RADHAR: Objectives and Current State
Eric Demeester, Emmanuel Vander Poorten, Alexander Hüntemann and Joris De Schutter
12.20 - 14.00 Lunch break
14.00 - 15.20 Session 3: autonomous wheelchair navigation and environment modelling
Session chair and co-chair: Matteo Matteucci and Emmanuel Vander Poorten
14.00-14.20 Demonstration of KU Leuven's haptic joystick and simulation environment
14.20-14.40 Introducing LURCH: a Shared Autonomy Robotic Wheelchair with Multimodal Interfaces
Andrea Bonarini, Simone Ceriani, Giulio Fontana and Matteo Matteucci
14.40-15.00 Robot Navigation with MPEPC in Dynamic and Uncertain Environments: From Theory to Practice
Jong Jin Park, Collin Johnson and Benjamin Kuipers
15.00-15.20 Stochastic Classification of Urban Terrain for Smart Wheelchair Navigation
Corey Montella, Michael Pollock, Dylan Schwesinger and John R. Spletzer
15.20 - 15.50 Coffee break
15.50 - 17.10 Session 4: evaluation by user groups
Session chair and co-chair: Yiannis Demiris and Christian Mandel
15.50-16.10 Towards Early Mobility Independence: An Intelligent Paediatric Wheelchair with Case Studies
Harold Soh and Yiannis Demiris
16.10-16.30 On the Clinical Evaluation of Smart Driving Assistance for Power Wheelchairs
Christian Mandel, Thomas Röfer and Insa Lohmüller
16.30-16.50 Controlling 2D Movements of a Robotic Arm Using a Brain-Machine Interface
Andrés Úbeda, Eduardo Iáñez, Enrique Hortal and José M. Azorín
16.50-17.10 Robotic Wheelchair Easy to Move and Communicate with Companions
Ryota Suzuki, Elly Takano, Yoshinori Kobayashi, Yoshinori Kuno, Keiichi Yamazaki and Akiko Yamazaki
17.10 - 18.00 Panel discussion and wrap-up




Main organizers

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Celestijnenlaan 300B, bus 2420
BE-3001 Heverlee, Belgium

Institut für Informatik
Faculty for Applied Sciences
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Georges-Köhler-Allee, Geb. 079
D-79110 Freiburg, Germany
Building 79, Room 1010


Coimbra 3030-290, Portugal

ELB 138 (Bâtiment ELB)
Station 11
CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Department of Electronics and Information
Via Ponzio 34/5,
I-20133 Milano (MI), Italy

Intelligent Systems and Networks Group
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2BT, UK

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