Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Innovation and ergonomy based on research - the need of the day

I enjoy driving my car. its a nice sedan with all the frills i.e a high end stereo, two lcd screens, reverse cams, sensors et al.  i particularly like my second reverse cam which is always on unlike most reverse cams which get switched on only when reversing. I was at a traffic signal yesterday waiting for the signal to turn red. I suddenly saw something moving across my screen. On a closer examination i could make out that it was a handicapped person almost crawling on the ground using only his hands as his legs werent there or had polio or some other ailment(coz i couldnt see clearly). The fact remains that this guy could not use his legs to walk, so he was using his hands to almost crawl.

That set me thinking. why doesn't this guy use a wheel chair?.  the first answer that came to me was - may be he cannot afford it. Ok, if we approach some charitable person/organisation - would it work for him? 
The second question that came was - even if he is given a wheel chair -would he able to drive it with his hands? for people who are not familiar with a wheel chair- the wheels are normally turned
   (a) with the hands directly
   (b) or, with the help of pedals akin to a bi cycle but mounted high to be       pedalled with the hands

either way they are quite laborious and need good strength in the hands. to pedal/turn the wheels over even small distances requires good amount of exertion even for a healthy individual and whether this impoverished individual could exert himself so much is also another question!!!  

so, how do we go about it? well i am throwing up a few solutions which the more learned and the more scientific of the people who come across this blog in times to come may kindly amplify further to make a working model.

1. take any ordinary wheel chair with high mounted pedals
2. take a motor of sufficient power rating and fix it to the pedalling mechanism using pulleys/belts etc
3. power this motor using a rechargeable 12/24 volt battery sufficient for travelling at brisk walking speed.
4. have a roof for this wheel chair which would provide a shade
5. use this roof also a base to mount solar panels
6. have charging facility for the battery both through the solar panel and normal electricity
7. have a joystick/steering wheel for steering

well, this may cost a bit but the emphasis has been on reducing the running costs wherein the user only spends for charging the battery, that too if done on electricity. i dont know what is the cost likely to be. any expert who happens to read this post may give his estimate (even on individual parts). once that is done, I will approach a suitable organisation/individual for funding the prototype. this prototype i intend to present to the chief minister of our state for his government to study and if found suitable, replicate it for as many similarly handicapped persons as possible.

bcoz, we owe it to them to lead a dignified life and they need our help n assistance in reaching there!!!
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

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