Answering a questionnaire at a competition laid the foundation for two woman engineering students from Tiruchy to develop a smart wheelchair for people afflicted with mobility disabilities from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The idea fetched them the Best Women-Led Entrepreneurship Idea Award at smartIDEAthon2022, a national-level competition organised recently by a private deemed university, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express.
Students K Amirthalakshmi and X Carolin Mary pursuing final year in EEE at Saranathan Engineering College, Tiruchy said the idea for the smart wheelchair stemmed from a different competition where they were asked to answer a set of questions that aimed at solving the problems faced by people afflicted with COPD. They said it helped them understand the problems faced by such people.
According to reports, COPD is a chronic, inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. This leads to breathing difficulty, wheezing, and in specific cases, limits physical functions also. Experts said mobility was the biggest problem for COPD patients as they could easily lose their balance.
Mentioning their model to have focused on enabling people with such disabilities to live independently, Amirthlakshmi said, “It is developed in such a way that the chair can be operated using joystick mechanism and contains an in-built B-type oxygen cylinder.”
Now in the process of developing the prototype into a model with help from doctors dealing with such patients and online resources, Amirthlakshmi said the cost of their wheelchair would work out to under Rs 40,000 as against those available in the market at around Rs 70,000.
Stating that the chair battery lasts for more than 10 hours on a single charge, Mary pointed out another additional feature their model provided is the option to convert it into a bed when required.
While the duo believes necessary approval from the medical authorities concerned would facilitate better marketing of the product, Dr Kamal, asthma and allergy specialist, said the students’ model would come of help to people with COPD as he mentioned there to be no such product available in the market yet.
Their mentor and professor MV Suganyadevi said the model, which was 60% complete, would be moved for a patent.
Courtesy : Edex Live