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Smart wheelchair tracks user's vitals, calls 911 in emergenciesAt the recent Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco, a 20-year-old intern unveiled the Connected Wheelchair. CNET's Sumi Das gets a demo of the device, which has even earned a nod from Stephen Hawking.
[MUSIC] Tim [INAUDIBLE] is not your average college intern. The twenty year old spent his summer at Intel. Developing a potentially life saving device. The connected wheelchair. This wheelchair is made smarter with the addition of a computer board and other tech. So the system is designed to be mounted on any wheelchair. So we took an Intel Galileo and, mounted it to the wheelchair to collect sensor data from the wheelchair itself. Next, we used a bio-harness to collect biometric data from the user. Accelerometers on the wheelchair track speed, while other sensors keep tabs on voltage and battery life. And the bio-harness, worn around the user's chest, monitors heart rate, skin temperature, and breathing. True to it's name, the wheelchair is connected. This particular. Particular prototype has a wi-fi hotspot on board. So, data from he wheelchair, and biometric data from the user can be streamed to a caregiver or a family member. By tracking vitals, the wheelchair could detect if a user has fallen over, a potentially fatal situation for a quadriplegic. After about five seconds, if you're still across there. It suddenly comes on, on your tablet and says, if you don't cancel this call, 911 will be called to assist you in, in your emergency. An intel tablet adds more functionality to the wheelchair. The accessibility app is able to, allows users to mark waypoints at different locations as to whether they're. Good and accessible, or bad and inaccessible. And that's shared with other people with the app, so that they can kind of crowdsource the better accessibility in the city. With the app users could map the best route to a destination, avoiding intersections that lack curb cuts, and reducing time spent riding in the streets. The project holds such potential that it caught the eye of Stephen Hawking. This is a great example of how technology for the disabled is often a proving ground for the technology of the future. Tim Balz is back college now, but he's lobbying for Intel to bring the connected wheelchair to market. So it can one day end up on streets and sidewalks. In San Francisco, I'm Simi Dodd, CNET.com, for CBS News. [MUSIC]