Pixie Dust Technologies, Inc


xWheel xWheel


「xWheel」は市販の車椅子に後付けで自動運転化ユニットを搭載することで、車椅子の利用者がボタンや音声操作で好きなときに好きな場所に行くことができるという車椅子の自動運転技術です。 車椅子の利用者の利便性向上と介護士の移動介助に関わる負担軽減を目指しています。
近時、日本においては少子高齢化により介護の需要に対して介護士の人数が不足している状況です。介護の現場ではカメラを用いた見守り機能の強化やセンシング技術の導入によって、人手不足を解消しようとしています。xWheelでは介護現場での「移動」に着目しました。車椅子に搭載したセンサーと施設に設置したセンサーで車椅子の安全を2重3重に確認し、安全に走行します。 現在、介護施設において実証実験中で、現場の方々のご意見を反映させながら開発を進めています。

xWheel is a self-driving technology for wheelchairs, in which a self-driving unit is mounted on a commercially available wheelchair to enable the wheelchair user to go wherever he/she wants at any time using button- and voice-activated operations. We aim to improve the convenience of wheelchair users and reduce the burden of caregivers.
Recently, Japan has been facing a shortage of caregivers to cater for the long-term care demand due to the declining birthrate and aging population. To overcome this manpower shortage, an enhanced monitoring function using cameras and sensing technologies is introduced in actual long-term care facilities. PDT focused on mobility at long-term care facilities and started the xWheel project. Safe driving is realized through careful safety checks based on the sensors mounted on wheelchairs and in the care facilities. Currently, we are conducting experimental verification in long-term care facilities and working on the development by reflecting the feedback comments from the people involved in the field.

< Case >

< Case >

■Case 1.

■Case 2.

■Case 1.
In long-term care facilities, at mealtime, the residents move to the dining room at the same time. At these times, caregivers must repeat the task of pushing wheelchairs back and forth between the residents’ rooms and the dining room, and this must be done for all the residents. This task accounts for a large percentage of caregiving work in the facilities, and results in a considerable burden on the caregivers.

■Case 2.
xWheel is equipped with auto-follow function that can sense a wheelchair ahead and follow it. AR markers are placed on the back of each wheelchair, and by relying on these markers, the wheelchair at the back can maintain a set distance from the one ahead of it, allowing them to follow like ducks. This way, only the wheelchair at the head of the line needs to be manually or automatically operated, reducing the burden on caregivers.

< 原理 >

< Theory >


■Remotely operable electric wheelchair
To facilitate remote control using xWheel, the electric wheelchair is equipped with a microcomputer and omnidirectional camera. While checking the images captured by the omnidirectional camera using HMD, an operator can remotely handle the wheelchair, as if he/she pushes it. Moreover, it can detect obstacles using the images captured by the omnidirectional camera, and can stop or issue warnings when it detects a pedestrian approaching the wheelchair or an obstacle ahead. In another case, long-term caregivers can perform these operations using a controller while standing beside the wheelchair, they are now able to transfer the person while engaging in face-to-face communications, which was not possible previously. In the case of multiple wheelchairs, there is the duck-like following function, whereby the wheelchairs behind the leader follow the one immediately in front of them. The wheelchair behind only follows the one in front of it by using the markers affixed on the back of the wheelchair ahead of it as the target.

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