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2008 Technical Reports

Accessibility Assessment Via Workspace Estimation

Jing Yang

Technical Report CSE-2008-01

York University

January 10, 2008


Accessibility is an important factor to enable people with disabilities tolive a good and independent life. For an environment to be suited forwheelchair use it must be sufficiently clear of obstacles so that thewheelchair can navigate it. The process of evaluating a built environment foraccessibility is known as ``accessibility assessment''. Determiningaccessibility is closely related to the problem of determining possiblemotions of a specific kinematic structure -- given an environment and a mobiledevice, how much of the environment is accessible? Given these similarities,the accessibility assessment process is reformulated as a kinematic planningproblem and a motion planner based on the Probabilistic Roadmap Planner (PRM)is used to assess accessibility. Rather than treating each of the joint angles`equally' within the PRM, we explore a hierarchical characteristic of all thejoint angles when constructing the roadmap. This PRM variant allows efficientand effective planning in the accessibility assessment domain. An additionalcomponent of the methodology for accessibility assessment, an environmentalplanner, evaluates potential environmental modifications by invoking themotion planner. The developed system can be a useful tool for clinicians toassess accessibility.

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