Monday, May 21, 2012

Mapua students build new wheelchair

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Mapua’s computer engineering students with their voice-activated wheelchair.| Zoom
Manila, Philippines - Five graduating computer engineering students from Mapúa Institute of Technology have developed a voice-activated wheelchair for the benefit of physically disabled individuals.

Darryll Jade Arias, Francis Mark Luna, Aljon Santillan, Lloyd Edwinson Arellano and Jonathan Temeña built a prototype of the wheelchair, distinguished by its unique safety features.

This new wheelchair has the ability to stop automatically and detect objects with the help of the infrared sensors installed at the front and back. It also has three pairs of LED lights located at the back that will light up when the infrared sensors detect obstacles on its path, preventing users from colliding with the objects blocking their way.

The group also placed a pair of sensors beneath the wheelchair to give it the capability to halt its movement once the sensors detect the lack of surface underneath, a feature that will prevent users from falling down stairs.

The wheelchair can also be elevated to a height of eight inches at most, high enough to steer clear of sidewalk gutters.

“We wanted to help people with walking disability, especially those who have lost the ability to use their arms. They are our main inspiration. We want to boost their morale by allowing them to go to places with the slightest help possible from other people,” said Arias, the group’s leader.
It took the team nine months to complete the model under the guidance of their adviser Ayra Panganiban, and with the help of design consultant Analyn Yumang.

The team conducted several tests to assure the wheelchair fs safety and functionality, keeping in mind that the protection of the user is the utmost priority.

“With these new features installed, we offer users easier control and more security. The added elevation function of the wheelchair makes it more mobile and dependable. As of now, this project would be very helpful but still not perfect. We are subjecting this design to further improvement, h the group said.

According to Panganiban, they plan to enhance the prototype based on the recommendations of the panel members during the final design presentation. Panganiban previously worked with another team of students who designed the award-winning dual-purpose device for the blind.

“The design of innovative inventions is based on the outcomes-based education initiatives of Mapúa since it promotes lifelong learning activities.

“The students are encouraged to create high-impact designs or researches,” she said.

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