WHEE Project: A Fun Future Created With 5G, AR and Wheelchairs
Under the initiative of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo Metropolitan University is focusing on research and development related to the local 5G environment from 2020. Our department is leading the “WHEE Project”, a project to develop and provide an outdoor activity support system for wheelchair users, which aims to support independent activities in a fun way with a wheelchair device that has a built-in camera and sensor and AR contents. Professor Kumiko Kushiyama is actively promoting this project. Under the title of “Social Implementation of AI Wheelchair System to Support Fun Independent Movement with AR Games”, we develop assistive technologies and content to help the elderly and people with disabilities enjoy their independent activities . Using a local 5G high-speed, high-capacity mobile communication system, we are developing hardware and software based on a wheelchair device with built-in cameras and sensors that can recognize moving objects and obstacle information in real-time.
The WHEE Project can be broadly divided into 1. vision system development, 2. network service development, and 3. AR/VR content development. For 3, in particular, an AR hackathon was held for about a week from September 4 to 10, 2021 . A total of 29 students from inside and outside the university were divided into 9 teams to create AR contents that can be enjoyed on campus using the 5G environment. The hackathon was held online, and on the first and second days, Mr. Yuki Matsuoka of Psychic VR Lab was invited to conduct a workshop on development methods using STYLY , an AR/VR development platform. After that, the participating students were divided into teams and used the Zoom breakout room and Miro for discussion and prototyping. In addition, a special lecture was given by Mr. Hiroshi Fukuda, CEO of meleap, a company known for its HADO  development, which drew many questions from participants.
At the presentation of the results a week later, a variety of AR games were proposed, such as a collection of monsters living around the university, an application to get back at professors who did not give credits, an AR game that stores geographic information about the events of the time as students and allows all to enjoy it in AR, and an AR kenkenpa game that allows people to enjoy by placing virtual tiles on the floor. Each group was given 8 minutes to present their AR game, which they created freely using introduction videos and slides. Mr. Yuya Kikukawa, CEO of ORPHE, Mr. Tatsuya Honda, the developer of ontenna, and Mr. Matsuoka, who held the STYLY workshop on the first day of the event, judged the teams strictly. The event was a great success, with two teams receiving the Excellence Award, one team receiving the Grand Prize, and the Grand Prize team receiving the ORPHE TRACK  smart running shoes from the sponsors. Although the hackathon was held fully online, it was impressive to see the participants and organizers enjoying working on a hackathon-style that utilized digital tools.
 Project official website：https://whee-project.org
 AR hackathon website：https://hackathon.whee-project.org
 ORPHE TRACK：https://orphe.io/track/
An excerpt of a scene from the presentation video