Tag Archive: Innovations for the Physically Disabled

India has some 40 to 80 million persons with various kinds of lower limb disabilities. Wheelchairs are a very common mobility assistance system for people with lower limb disability. However wheelchairs cannot serve people with upper both upper and lower limb disability.

It  is suited for persons with both upper and lower limb disability. It is a battery driven wheelchair, which can be operated through joy stick or using tongue and head movements depending upon the kind of disability the person has. The chair sports sensors attached on the seat at the neck position and these can be operated by the movement of the neck to maneuver the wheelchair. Similarly the tongue may also be used to provide inputs to the wheelchair’s mechatronical system through sensors. It can also be easily elevated to a convenient height. This wheelchair facilitates easy movement for people with spinal injuries, as they can navigate it using their tongue.

The project team received the Gandhian Social innovations award at Gandhian Young Technology Awards 2012

Pratik Gandhi , Chintak Dholakia, Sumit Shatwara, Bhargav Desai, Priyesh Rajnikant, Vanraj Kamliya, LD College of Engineering
Project Guide: Prof BH Parmar 

Wheelchairs are extensively used by disabled people to enhance their personal mobility. One of the basic problems of user on manual wheelchair is overcoming architectural barriers like kerbs,stairs etc. on its way.

Vardaan facilitates climbing up and down the stairs by using an innovative ‘Y’ shaped wheel that provides better grip and optimum braking along with a ratchet and a braking system. The ‘Y’ shaped wheel has been designed to mimic the human gait while climbing up. For climbing up the user pulls and pushes the lever ratchet attached on the axle of the Y shaped wheel. The design makes use of the fact that people with lower limb disability have high upper body strength and therefore pulling/pushing the ratchet lever can be conveniently operated by them. While during the climbing down the user can use brakes to control the motion of the wheelchair as the ‘Y’ shaped wheel rolls down the steps.

The braking system along with the ‘Y’ shaped wheel is likely to make the wheelchair a safe solution for climbing stairs for the user. The initial prototype has been tested under various circumstances like step sizes of stairs, people with different weight (58 kg-89kg) and it has shown satisfactory results. The wheelchair can navigate stairs with 350-230 mm width and step heights from 110-185 mm. As per National Building Code Specifications for step sizes of staircase of public building VARDAAN can climb all the public stairs.

The project received Gandhian Young Technology Awards in April, 2012.

Shanu Sharma, IIT Kanpur
Project Guides: Dr. J Ramkumar, Dr. Satyaki Roy

Project Hope is an Image, Speech Recognition and Speech Synthesis system. It aims to aid people suffering from hearing and orating /vocal impairments.

Often people suffering from such disability have normal vision and therefore they are able to communicate through sign or gestures. This system through a webcam converts signs into text. The other person who may not know sign language can read this text. It can also be heard through text to speech. Further, when the other person speaks, the system will convert into a text which the deaf and dumb person can read,
Presently the system supports English. The device consists of a wearable camera along with speaker. The vocally disabled person can keep his hand in front of the camera and make gestures using sign language. The camera may capture the gestures and the onboard electronic system will identify and convert the gestures into text. The Onboard voice synthesizer will convert the text into voice. For the hearing disabled the onboard system may record the external voice and convert the same into text that will be displayed for the user.

The device may be lightweight and therefore the user may wear the system on his body. The innovators are also in process of developing a Gestural API, so those using this platform can directly proceed to make use of the platform’s functionality. The team needs support to make the functionalities more smooth, develop viable prototypes and take it to market.

Saurabh Saket and Rahul Ranjan , Bhutta College of Engineering & Technology, Ludhiana
Punjab Technological University

Project Guide: Er Inderdeep Singh Grewal