Small project for my paraplegic friend

Hello...I'm looking for help with a project. My goal is to find a way to have an arduino with an RC transmitter on my hat that would read my movement and connect to a receiver that powers a small electric RC car.

If I lean my head forward slight the RC car would go forward and backward then backward. The further I leaned my head toward, the faster the RC car would go.If I leaned to the left, it would start turning left and the same for going right.

I want to test this out because if successful, I would then connect the arduino to a motorized wheelchair for my friend who is paralyzed. He can move his head fairly well and already has one with a joystick but I'd like to make a better solution for him.

I'm in the US and would like help figuring out which arduinoi to purchase and get it going. Not to great at coding but can definitely follow directions.

His birthday is coming up in August so I'm trying to surprise him if I can with at least a hack showing how we might be able to either rewire his chair or add two brushless motors to his old manual wheelchair.

You probably want to look at a gyroscope
i.e. Arduino Guide for MPU-6050 Accelerometer and Gyroscope | Random Nerd Tutorials

This may be of interest: Gesture-Controlled Car - Arduino Project Hub
and: Gesture Controlled Car - Arduino Project Hub

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MPU-6050 has errors and the error will be accumulated over time. Therefore, to make it work long time, we need to do much on processing data from the sensor. A error filter such as Kalman is required. This is complicated. I would like to recommend using Adafruit BNO055 instead. The product page mentioned that: Absolute orientation without the Ph.D in digital signal processing!

Thanks....thats a great idea and very similar to what I'm looking to do.

Have you thought about consequences of a bug in the code or a bump on his path gets his head moving or if your friend falls asleep in his chair?

Ensuring safety is going to be very important …

I totally agree with @J-M-L

I'm not sure if tampering with wheelchair is a good idea.

These chairs when made even joystick controlled have to pass some standard tests and you cannot just directly introduce changes to a current one as it endangers the occupants safety.

Even if the law in your country allows it, this would be unethical.

If you're passionate about your idea, try to make a prototype and do some controlled testing in a safe environment.

But directly putting your friend on the wheels? Bad idea honestly.

Yes of course security / safety is very important.
You wrote about that he has a joystickversion of a wheelchair.
So can you describe what his abilities are with his hands?
If he can pull/push a joystick I guess he would be able to press some kind of an enable-button.
Only when enable-button is pressed the wheelchair will drive.
Still the design of this button has to be made in a way that any kind of things like falling asleep
cramp / convulsing would not accidently enable driving.
Maybe a new push every few seconds

best regards Stefan

Hi @eharris04 .
I know that this moment is brainstorm,
If this friend does not have difficulty in failing, then my suggestion would be to analyze or use verbal control, perhaps using a system like Alexia or similar.

RV mineirin

Thanks for the concerns and I'm aware of a lot of things that could go wrong and will plan around them as I see them.

I'll look into the gyro sensor and see if someone can help me with that part.

Thanks for the tip. I'm looking into the adafruit more. Seems easier for sure and more accurate.