Healthcare

Inspired by Stephen Hawking, student from Bihar develops a voice-controlled wheelchair to help those in need

Think Change India
24th Jun 2016
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Ashutosh Prakash is a final year student at the Birla Institute of Technology. In a rare feat, he has developed a battery-operated wheelchair that can be fully controlled by giving it voice commands. For Ashutosh, his grandfather’s insistence on being independent at all cost, was the inspiration.

Image: Daily Bhaskar
Image: Daily Bhaskar

The wheelchair is extremely simple to use, and accepts simple commands like left, right, forward, and reverse. It even stops when it senses an uneven surface or an approaching staircase. The wheelchair developed by Ashutosh is being compared with the one used by acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking.

“My grandfather hates it when somebody tries to help him with his daily chores or holds his hand to help him walk. I am sure there are many more like him. I wanted to do something for them,” quoted Daily Bhaskar.

Ashutosh made this chair while interning with at the Indian Institute of Technology, Patna with the help of his guide. The cost of the wheelchair is Rs 20,000 and it comes with a voice-processor, and micro-controllers to amplify control signals, motor, and battery, besides microchips. The wheelchair is fit for a person weighing up to 80 kgs and can be adjusted according to the weight of an individual.

Ashutosh says he has no plan make any profit and wants to help people who are in need. He has even invited people to make improvements on his design so as to make the wheelchair more operational for people who need it the most.

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