This device will be released in March 2020. For more information on our progress, please join the SuperHouse Discord server and check out the #assistive-technology channel.
This module allows you to use the existing controls on your wheelchair to connect to a computer or game console and play games, control software, or even use remote control devices such as drones, RC planes, and RC cars.
In this video, Nick Fryer is using his Permobil wheelchair joystick for proportional steering in a car racing game:
Many wheelchairs, particularly those from Permobil, use an unusual connection between the input device (joystick, foot controls, sip-n-puff, squeeze buttons, etc) and the main chair controller. The connection looks like a common “DB-9” serial port connection with 9 pins, but it’s not.
We’ve figured out how the connection works and designed this module so that you can connect it between your control device and the chair controller, and your chair will continue to work normally.
By switching modes, the chair can be immobilised and your input device can be used instead to control other things such as a computer or game console.
The Wheelchair Control Breakout has a USB socket so that you can plug it into any device with a USB port, and it can then send the same signals as a joystick, game controller, or keyboard.
It also has a CAN bus interface so that it can be linked to other devices on the chair, such as a hand heater, motor controller, touch switches, etc. You can even link multiple Chair Control Breakouts together using CAN bus, so you can have a combination of input devices such as multiple joysticks, or a joystick combined with buttons.
- DB-9 connector for link to existing chair controller
- DB-9 connector for link to chair control device (joystick, etc)
- ATmega32U4 processor (Arduino Leonardo compatible so you can reprogram it easily)
- USB socket for connection to computer or game console as a joystick, keyboard, or game controller
- CAN bus interface to send control events to other devices on the chair
- Power from the existing chair controller via the DB-9 connector or from CAN bus
- Aluminium case with laser-cut acrylic end plates
Using its CAN bus, the Chair Breakout Mini can also be connected to a modified Flysky radio transmitter so that the wheelchair controls can be used to control something like an RC car, aircraft, drone, or robot.
In this video, Nick is using a very early prototype of the Chair Breakout Mini and a Flysky transmitter to drive an RC car:
This is Nick controlling a robot chassis with our second prototype: