A Victory for a Social Cause

What happens when a team of engineering students develops an innovative device for their final-year project?

The team works hard, gains some experience, makes a prototype, but then the work stops after the students graduate.

But not in the case of Br. Rajesh Kannan’s students. Work that was begun last year on a gesture-based wheelchair was taken significantly forward by a team of junior students after the senior students who began the project, all graduated.

Gesture Based Wheel Chair Team Amrita

Ramesh N. Nair and Sai Manoj obtained a grant of US $ 7520 for their proposal titled Intelligent Home Navigation System for the Elderly and Physically Challenged from the IEEE Foundation, USA.

This marked the first time that an undergraduate student group in Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham received a substantial grant from a funding body.

Building on their seniors’ work, the students proposed making a wheel chair that could be navigated by a user through gestures and sound.

“We are sure that this invention will provide a lot of relief to the aged and the physically challenged, especially quadriplegics,” they noted.

The system will include a preloaded map of the home that could help the elderly, who might otherwise inadvertently forget their way around, when moving inside the house.

The students expect to complete the project in two years. Every six months, they will have to provide a status update to the funding body.

Between them, these two students have already presented three research papers at conferences, both national and international, and are working on two more.

Both are executive members of the IEEE Student Chapter at Amrita and give all credit for their accomplishments to their teacher, Br. Rajesh Kannan.

“Not only did he guide us every step of the way, his thorough review of our efforts helped us submit a solid proposal to the funding body,” they noted.

“The financial support from the IEEE Foundation places a great responsibility on us to put forth our maximum effort to execute the project successfully.”

January 4, 2011
School of Engineering, Amritapuri

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