“A group of us visited Baby Sarah home as part of a social work project and there we met Kavidhai Sathya. When we saw how dependent she was on other people in order to move from one place to another, we decided to develop a wheelchair that would help her. Using our wheelchair, people who are unable to walk need not depend on anybody for simple tasks,” Final year ECE student T. Aravindh said.

Prototype

Aravindh, along with a group of five students – G. Arun, D. Lubin Jayalakshmi, K. Sangeeth, T. Subas and J. Gurumoorthy – from the ECE Department at Sri Manakula Vinayagar Engineering College have now come up with a prototype for a wheelchair that uses an accelerometer for movement.

The accelerometer is the same technology that enables smart phone users to play racing games where the tilting causes a movement on the screen. To use the wheelchair, the person needs to wear a glove and using the position of the wheelchair user’s hand, the movement of the chair is determined.

The other advantage is that the wheelchair can climb slopes using just these hand gestures. There is also a device that detects any obstacles on the way. Only a light touch is needed to apply a brake. The whole idea is to enable the user to use the chair on roads as well, Arun said.

In terms of charging, the battery of the chair can be charged using a solar powered dock that can be positioned in the person’s room.

Now that they have developed the prototype, the students have planned to apply for a patent. They have also applied to the Limca Book of World Records.

They have already started to develop additional features that will allow voice activated commands that are programmed to hear only the user’s voice. The voice activation can then be used to switch on and off lights, fans and other devices, the students explained.

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