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  • Tablet control of Permobil wheelchair commands

    I just got the per mobile F5 vertical stander. It is an extremely elegant and talented piece of equipment. However, I am less so when it comes to sip and puff. I will spare you the details, but I very eager to pursue other easy alternatives.

    I plan to get a voice controlled tablet to mount on the chair (to use as both my phone and my computer, as it appears that everything I do with those devices can be done on a tablet. I will be back about that probably, seeking tablet advice). I would like to transfer the pole bill software to the tablet, so I might be out-of-control some of it by voice ? ? the seat functions and menus and such. I really think this should be possible, if I find the right person.

    The guy at Permobil relented some, went from insisting no to acknowledging that maybe the people at the vendor who otherwise are programming the chair (the user interface device that I am hoping to two other replace with the tablet or operate through the tablet is called the Omni). I?m going to call Numotion tomorrow, but I thought I?d ask among the wizards here if anyone knows:

    = Should what I am envisioning be possible?
    = Would it be done through programming through the Bluetooth?
    = Whom would I get to do that? Does anyone know the proper name or position at Numotion or Permobil, or someone outside?
    = Has anyone done such a thing before, or know how to do it?

  • #2
    I am looking for the same information. I want to be able to control the seat functions by voice. All I have learned so far is that the Permobil joystick module uses Bluetooth wireless.

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    • #3
      That sounds really interesting. My concern here would be validating the software to make sure it is bug-free. A bug in tablet software controlling the seat could be dangerous. I use a tablet all the time, but none of the consumer-grade software I use on it is close to bug-free - it's fine for web-browsing or watching movies, not so much for controlling seats. However, there might be techniques for making reliable tablet software over bluetooth.

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      • #4
        You would need permobile to provide some sort of API to interface with the stander. If they were willing to provide that it would be trivial to hook it up to an Alexa or Google Home device.


        Originally posted by Random View Post
        I just got the per mobile F5 vertical stander. It is an extremely elegant and talented piece of equipment. However, I am less so when it comes to sip and puff. I will spare you the details, but I very eager to pursue other easy alternatives.

        I plan to get a voice controlled tablet to mount on the chair (to use as both my phone and my computer, as it appears that everything I do with those devices can be done on a tablet. I will be back about that probably, seeking tablet advice). I would like to transfer the pole bill software to the tablet, so I might be out-of-control some of it by voice ? ? the seat functions and menus and such. I really think this should be possible, if I find the right person.

        The guy at Permobil relented some, went from insisting no to acknowledging that maybe the people at the vendor who otherwise are programming the chair (the user interface device that I am hoping to two other replace with the tablet or operate through the tablet is called the Omni). I?m going to call Numotion tomorrow, but I thought I?d ask among the wizards here if anyone knows:

        = Should what I am envisioning be possible?
        = Would it be done through programming through the Bluetooth?
        = Whom would I get to do that? Does anyone know the proper name or position at Numotion or Permobil, or someone outside?
        = Has anyone done such a thing before, or know how to do it?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by xsfxsf View Post
          That sounds really interesting. My concern here would be validating the software to make sure it is bug-free. A bug in tablet software controlling the seat could be dangerous.
          Exactly. A big part of medical/pharmaceutical software/system development is (formal) "Validation": is this device/process GUARANTEED to perform as specified? This is especially true as software/systems become more complex -- can you ever know, for sure, that you've verified every aspect of the system/software?

          By way of comparison, the Therac-25 was trivial piece of software -- yet inspired most of this paranoia!

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therac-25

          However, there might be techniques for making reliable tablet software over bluetooth.
          BT isn't the issue -- though any non-wired interface presents additional challenges (e.g., what if there is "invisible" interference with the radio transmission and your "STOP!!!!" command gets lost?). OTOH, you could probably come up with a scheme for tying into the RNet control on the chair (e.g., by emulating the seat controls in the PC).

          I'd be more concerned about the voice recognition software misrecognizing an utterance. Or, failing to recognize it at all! I'm sure Dragon (or any other company) would disclaim any liability for screwups in their software in such an application (many expressly prohibit such use in their EULAs).

          You also have to consider the reliability of the operating system (which is typically not certified for such types of applications):

          http://www.coneslayer.org/wopr/mph/h.../msg00026.html

          If the DoD doesn't have enough clout to get those sorts of "guarantees", what makes you think a chair manufacturer would?

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow. I hope that was meant to be humorous.

            Originally posted by automation View Post
            Exactly. A big part of medical/pharmaceutical software/system development is (formal) "Validation": is this device/process GUARANTEED to perform as specified? This is especially true as software/systems become more complex -- can you ever know, for sure, that you've verified every aspect of the system/software?

            By way of comparison, the Therac-25 was trivial piece of software -- yet inspired most of this paranoia!

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therac-25



            BT isn't the issue -- though any non-wired interface presents additional challenges (e.g., what if there is "invisible" interference with the radio transmission and your "STOP!!!!" command gets lost?). OTOH, you could probably come up with a scheme for tying into the RNet control on the chair (e.g., by emulating the seat controls in the PC).

            I'd be more concerned about the voice recognition software misrecognizing an utterance. Or, failing to recognize it at all! I'm sure Dragon (or any other company) would disclaim any liability for screwups in their software in such an application (many expressly prohibit such use in their EULAs).

            You also have to consider the reliability of the operating system (which is typically not certified for such types of applications):

            http://www.coneslayer.org/wopr/mph/h.../msg00026.html

            If the DoD doesn't have enough clout to get those sorts of "guarantees", what makes you think a chair manufacturer would?

            Comment


            • #7
              [Description of Therac and Navy "automation" SNAFUs]

              Originally posted by t8burst View Post
              Wow. I hope that was meant to be humorous.
              Actually, no. Just an acknowledgement of the (poor) state of affairs when it comes to "system/software quality".

              Makes you think twice before having any "implanted" bits of electronics!

              [The two "examples" are worth reading about to see how little has changed in the minds of most folks when it comes to approaches to new system designs -- esp the false belief that "old software" is "proven software"!]
              Last edited by automation; 10-03-2018, 08:19 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by t8burst View Post
                You would need permobile to provide some sort of API to interface with the stander. If they were willing to provide that it would be trivial to hook it up to an Alexa or Google Home device.
                Thanks T8. Please forgive my cluelessness, but are you saying they could write for me an application, or is there something called an API that I could ask for?

                Comment


                • #9
                  An API defines how applications talk to each other - technically it’s an Application Programming Interface. You need an API for the tablet/Alexa/Google Home to tell the chair/stander what you want/how to work. So basically an API for R-Net into a custom app or set of commands in another app or tool that R-Net would respond to.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Random View Post
                    Thanks T8. Please forgive my cluelessness, but are you saying they could write for me an application, or is there something called an API that I could ask for?
                    Yes, if they provided an API or some sort of development kit you could hook it to a tablet, google home, alexa or whatever. Given there are probable only six commands (forward, back right, left, up, down) it would pretty easy to write an app to control it. I have thought about asking the smartdrive people for one, but now that they have been bought by permobile I doubt they would release it.

                    That being said, in all likelihood they don't. It is not a device that would have a great need to allow 3rd party integration and putting together an SDK is quite a bit of work.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by t8burst View Post
                      Yes, if they provided an API or some sort of development kit you could hook it to a tablet, google home, alexa or whatever. Given there are probable only six commands (forward, back right, left, up, down) it would pretty easy to write an app to control it. I have thought about asking the smartdrive people for one, but now that they have been bought by permobile I doubt they would release it.

                      That being said, in all likelihood they don't. It is not a device that would have a great need to allow 3rd party integration and putting together an SDK is quite a bit of work.
                      The hardware and software interfaces exist. The bigger problem (IMO) is coming up with a USER interface that:
                      • makes sense
                      • is reasonably fool-proof
                      • addresses the varying capabilities of the community


                      Note that folks typically try to leverage existing "user interface frameworks" (e.g., "Windows") when designing these sorts of things. The failure, there, is that Windows isn't designed with any sorts of "performance guarantees". And, would encourage users to install other applications on the platform, further compromising that performance (do you want the application to make your Halo (game) responsive? Or, do you want it to favor Dragon Dictate's performance? Or, do you want it to stop the chair before you hit the wall???)

                      If you're a manufacturer (or seller of said interface), do you want to be on the hook for screwups in the "controls" because you relied on a "black box" (windows) of "dubious quality" to provide much of the functionality? Or, the user figuring out how to add some "rogue" application to your "control panel" and forever wonder what the real cause of that lawsuit happened to be...
                      Last edited by automation; 11-23-2018, 04:31 PM.

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