Never before has the scope of technology been harnessed in such an expansive manner, in the service of the differently-abled population across the world.
Scientists, researchers and even school students have been coming up with brilliant brainwaves in recent times, which if made available in the markets, would help ease the limitations that the community often finds itself grappling with.
One such amazing technological innovation, to aid mobility, is a voice-controlled wheelchair devised by students of NSS College of Engineering in Palakkad, Kerala.
The geniuses behind the innovation are final year Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) students P Athira, Midhun Mohan, Jithu S, M Lekith, CK Manu Shankar and CS Shilpa, who not only designed the wheelchair but also built it as part of their college project in less than two months.
Although many types of voice-controlled wheelchairs are already available in markets across the globe, these are often very expensive and quite beyond the financial reach of the common Indian population. This issue prompted the students to work on a wheelchair prototype that would be easy on one’s pockets.
On a budget of only ₹8,000, they developed a wheelchair using the motor of a car wiper. “A small chip called voice module is installed on the micro-controller of the wheelchair. Directions will be given through this chip,” Athira and Midhun told Mathrubhumi, a local Malayalam daily.
Currently, the contraption comprises of an iron frame attached with cycle wheels. While the current prototype can carry people weighing up to 75 kg, the students hope to use a budget of ₹10,000 and develop the innovation further with a better motor and other facilities.
“Replacing the iron frame with a fibre frame will reduce the weight of the wheelchair. It will improve the operation of the wheelchair,” said Dr V Devi, the HOD of EEE department, and professor C Praveen Kumar.
It is highly commendable to see these youngsters applying their years of learning, for a better and compassionate purpose. They intend to make their innovation available to hospitals and palliative care units across the state.
We hope that they are successful in their endeavour!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)