Rolling Without Limits

Your mobility may be limited. Your voice, boundless.

Kerala Students Build Voice-Controlled Wheelchair
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Kerala Students Build Voice-Controlled Wheelchair

It's no secret that technology influences our day-to-day lives by helping us do a slew of backbreaking tasks without breaking much of a sweat. On the downside, there's dearth of tools that can be used successfully by individuals with different abilities.

While some countries are leaving no stone unturned in a bid to become more accessible to people with disabilities, a few other countries, including India, are still struggling to provide the much-needed accessibility to its people with limited mobility. Regrettably, India is not a friendly place for people with some sort of physical limitation.

Nevertheless, the government is striving to make the country more accessible for persons with restricted mobility or any sort of other unfitness. Apart from scientists and researchers, even school students have come up with brilliants ideas that are likely to ease the constraint that people with disabilities in India often finds themselves dealing with.

Students of NSS College of Engineering in Palakkad, Kerala, have managed to strike a perfect balance between technological innovation and a big idea that's capable of making India more accessible. These students have created a voice-controlled wheelchair using just the motor of a car wiper and by shelling out INR 8000 (USD $120).

The final year E. E. E. (Electrical and Electronics Engineering) students are the geniuses behind this innovation. CS Shilpa, CK Manu Shankar, Jithu S, M Lekith, Midhun Mohan and P Athira designed the wheelchair and created this as a part of their university project within two months.

The market is brimming with a broad range of steeply-priced voice-controlled wheelchairs, which the common population of India is incapable of buying. Bearing that in mind, the students focused on making a low-priced wheelchair.

The student used the motor of a car wiper and spent just 8,000 INR (about $118) in order to design the wheelchair.

“A small chip called voice module is installed on the micro-controller of the wheelchair. Directions will be given through this chip,” Midhun and Athira told mathrubhumi, a local Malayalam daily.

The wheelchair sports a robust iron frame that attaches to cycle wheels. The recently unveiled prototype is capable of carrying individuals weighing up to 75 kg; however, the students plan to further develop the wheelchair using a relatively better motor, other types of equipment, and a budget of 10,000 INR (about $147).

“Replacing the iron frame with a fibber 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.

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