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Kerala students create eye-controlled wheelchair for people with limited mobility

Students and teachers of Ilahia College of Engineering and Technology with the prototype wheelchair. Image Courtesy: Special Arrangement

Five engineering students in Kerala have surprised the tech world by developing an innovative eye-controlled wheelchair that moves sensing the direction at which the person sitting on it is looking. The sixth semester computer science engineering students of Ilahia College of Engineering and Technology at Mulavoor in Ernakulam have developed the highly cost effective wheel chair to help patients who are paralysed and could only move their head and eyes.

This eye-controlled wheelchair that utilises Internet of Things (IoT) technology to interpret electric signals generated by eye movement was developed by students – Ashiq Satyan, Basil Sajeev, Ansil Reji, Richu Suresh and Nithin Babu–under the guidance of computer science department head professor Lino Abraham Varghese and assistant professor Shanavas K A. “We bought a second hand wheelchair and worked on it for over two months to develop it. We have spend only Rs 30,000 for developing it. Our wheelchair empowers individuals with limited mobility to navigate their surroundings simply by looking in a particular direction,” Ashiq Satyan told “Open Digest”.

He said the idea to make such a wheelchair struck them during a routine conversation with friends. “We decided to go ahead and work on it because we want to make a positive impact on the lives of many individuals and create an innovative solution that would enhance mobility and independence,” he said.

The wheelchair is a fusion of advanced technology that leverages IoT and electroocoulogram (EOG). The wheelchair is fitted with sensory motors that function as per the signals send from a head band equipped with sophisticated sensors that accurately interpret electric signals generated by the movement of the eyes. The signals generated by the headband are then translated into specific commands, allowing the wheelchair to move in the desired direction. To ensure seamless function, the students have incorporated an eye-tracking technology that monitors the movement of the user’s eyes with exceptional accuracy. “The signals collected by the headband is then processed by a software which will translate them into precise wheelchair movements,” Ashiq said.

The students have successfully tested the prototype wheelchair for its accurate performance and are planning to set up a startup with the support of the college to take the product to the market at a very affordable price. “We are discussing about launching the product in the market,” he said. The students are hopeful that the wheelchair will revolutionise the lives of individuals with limited mobility.

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