Solar Powered Wheel Chair
The source of inspiration is an interesting event. Rohit Thakwani (First Secretary of SESI NITS Chapter) had organized a series of 5 lectures under the Solar Energy Society of India Students' Chapter, NIT Silchar where he was taking the lectures on 'Solar Energy & its Applications'. The hon'ble Director of NIT Silchar was present at the opening lecture and during his interaction with the students, he mentioned various applications that can be worked upon, like Solar Car, Solar Umbrella, Solar Wheelchair, etc.
Rohit, Shubham and Rajarshi took the one which was most feasible to work on at the campus and had some good challenges to be solved.
The problems that persist in the existing designs:
The solar panels may be adjusted through a very limited range. The changing position of the sun over the day requires large angle adjustment for better power utilization.
They are only power-driven and cannot be user-operated because of smaller wheels; and only some have the facility for an attendant to move it manually, which requires the panels to be dismantled in all cases.
They use two 320W motors for their drive which results in larger power consumption in comparison to the power generation by solar panels. We had higher power generation when compared to the consumption of motors even at its highest speed.
The rigid frame of the panel doesn't allow the existing ones to pass through standard doors; the panels have to be removed for the purpose
Rohit and his team solved all the above problems with their unique design!
The team have filed a patent 'Solar Powered Wheelchair' at the India Patent Office with the number 832/KOL/2013 on 12th July 2013 and are waiting for the grant. They have also won two awards for this project:
European Renewable Energy Research Centres Award 2013
They were awarded the Best Undergraduate Students' Project on Renewable Energy 2013 (3rd Prize Worldwide) by the European Renewable Energy research Centres (EUREC) Association. The prize money was 1500 Euros. The award was presented to Rohit Thakwani by Nathalie Richet, Manager, EUREC at their headquarters in Belgium on 14th October 2013. EUREC, founded in 1991 as European Economic Interest Grouping, is an association of renewable energy research centres and universities of Europe.
Indian National Academy of Engineering Award 2013
The project was awarded the Innovative Student Projects Award 2013 (Bachelor's Level) by the Indian National Academy of Engineering. The prize money was Rs. 10,000. The award was presented to Rohit Thakwani by Dr. Baldev Raj, President, INAE on 13th Dec 2013. INAE, supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, represents India at the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS).