Emirati students develop wheelchair that moves by swaying your head

Filed on November 5, 2019 | Last updated on November 5, 2019 at 09.07 pm
 Emirati, students, develop, wheelchair, moves, swaying, head, AccessAbilities Expo
Smart wheel chair made by Dewa Academy students in DEWA pavilion at the Dubai Accessible Tourism International Summit (DATIS) at the Dubai World Trade Centre.- Photo by Shihab

The smart wheelchair moves via a motion-sensor attached to the helmet of the user.

A motion-sensitive wheelchair that can move by swaying the head is being developed by a team of young Emirati students at Dewa Academy.

Showcasing their project on the sidelines of AccessAbilities Expo in Dubai, Abdullah Alhammadi, 16, told Khaleej Times that the smart wheelchair was part of their senior year graduation project and designed for quadriplegic people or those who have partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso.

The smart wheelchair moves via a motion-sensor attached to the helmet of the user. If the user sways his/her head to the left, the wheelchair will move to the left and if he/she moves the head rightwards, the wheelchair will follow the same direction.

Moving one's head forward will nudge the wheelchair to move ahead. Brake or putting the wheelchair to a halt is done by moving the head backwards.

Should the motion-sensor helmet fails, the wheelchair can be run by a back-up joy stick.

"We only have a prototype now," said Alhammadi. "The smart wheelchair can run on a speed of 4-8kmph on a flat terrain. The motor is powered by a 24-volt battery and will last up to three days or 30 kilometres on a single charge."

Alhammadi said it cost them around Dh10,000 to develop the technology. "The wheelchair is just an ordinary one but it's the tech that we are highlighting," he added.

The next equipment Alhammadi is developing is a voice-sensitive smart wheelchair that will move by voice command in either Arabic or English.

"We are also planning on developing an app for our smart wheelchair, similar to the one available for e-scooters," he added.

Angel Tesorero

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