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Mapua Students Design Enhanced Safety Features for IVR Wheelchair
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Mapua Students Design Enhanced Safety Features for IVR Wheelchair

April 30, 2012

  By Amanda Ciccatelli, TMCnet Web Editor

Physically disabled people who have lost control of their hands can greatly benefit from an IVR wheelchair created by five graduating computer engineering students from the Mapua Institute of Technology. The voice-activated wheelchair, with its innovative safety measure features, now joins the list of innovative designs from Mapúa.

The idea of a voice-activated wheelchair is not new, but the Mapua team recently added safety features that include infrared sensors that will make the wheelchair stop when it encounters obstacles, according to GMA News.

“We have formulated the idea of creating this design during our thesis class. At that time, we thought of different ways 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 Mapúa team member Darryll Jade Arias.

With a priority of making the user feel safe and secure, it took the team nine months to complete the prototype, with the guidance of Engineer Ayra Panganiban, their thesis adviser and overall mentor; and design adviser Engr. Analyn Yumang.

The prototype wheelchair can easily be maneuvered through the use of a microcontroller that accepts and carries out commands.

“We are proud to introduce this project as a means of improving the existing wheelchair designs. With these new features installed, we offer them (the users) easier control and more security. The added elevation function of the wheelchair makes it more mobile and dependable,” the group said. 

In addition to the microcontroller, the wheelchair has front and back infrared (IR) sensors that can detect objects. With the IR sensors, the wheelchair automatically stops, and three pairs of LED lights at the back will light up. Another pair of sensors underneath the wheelchair will make it stop if they detect there is no more surface to move on to.

Earlier, Panganiban had worked with another team of Mapua students who designed a dual-purpose device for the blind - the “Wearable Obstacle Detection System and Braille CellPhone for the Blind.” The mobile phone for the blind won in the 8th Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP) Innovation and Excellence Awards.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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