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Eye Maneuvered Wheelchairs are Becoming a Reality
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Eye Maneuvered Wheelchairs are Becoming a Reality

With the ever advancing technology of today, scientists, engineers, experts and even students can create and design nearly anything. And an eye maneuvered wheelchair is not an exception.

The VJTI’s (Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute) engineering students are designing a wheelchair which can be controlled via the movement of the users’ eyes. The wheelchair is created and developed under Technovanza, the largest techno-management festival in Maharashtra, which will be held this year from December 28-30.

The students decided to have this kind of project for them to help disabled individuals especially those who are quadriplegic. With the eye maneuvered wheelchair, those individuals who cannot use a joystick to control their wheelchair will no longer have to since they can navigate their chair through eye movement.

The students built a mobility chair that can be guided or navigated through the movement of the users’ eyeballs. This technology was developed by these young aspiring engineers as a low-cost mobility solution for quadriplegics. The project was achieved through using the fact that the cornea found in the front of the human eye has a different electrical potential from the back of the eye. This potential difference can be evaluated and measured by utilizing sensitive electrodes and highly accurate instrumentation amplifiers.

The team that designed this wheelchair consists of five talented individuals namely:

  • Anson Bastos a junior electronics engineering student
  • Abhishek Suryawanshi – a junior electronics engineering student
  • Abhinendra Singh – a junior telecommunications and electronics student
  • Dhiraj Patil a junior electronics engineering student
  • Melroy Tellis – a junior electronics engineering student

These students started their research and study about the eye maneuvered wheelchair during their sophomore year in the engineering course. The prototype will be presented during the techno-management festival.

While building the mobility device, the team visited several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to see if what kind of wheelchairs that people with quadriplegia are using. They observed one person in Goregaon utilizing wheels controlled by joysticks but his condition does not allow him to fully use his mobility chair so he needs to rely on others.

Electrooculography is the technique used for measuring the standing potential of the cornea that exists between the front and back of the eye, while electrooculogram is the resulting signal. The movement of the eyeball in a specific direction yields a specific electrooculogram or EOG pattern, which can be detected and used to guide and move the chair in the same direction.

According to Dhiraj Patil, their project is not like the conventional eye controlled wheelchair which relies solely on photography and image-processing to detect motion of the eyes. The technique used is slow and at the same time prone to error. Patil then added that their technique does not have the drawbacks of the old type of eye maneuvered chair because theirs detects eye movements faster and more accurately.

Patil also stated that his team is trying to make their product cost-effective and after they finish their model, they will give it to the person in Goregaon and see if the chair fits him. They are excited to test their wheelchair and are looking forward to seeing how such technology will turn the world around.

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