A group of students in Odisha have developed a solar-powered wheelchair to ease the travel difficulties faced by the disabled.
The final year Bachelor of Physiotherapy students at the Swami Vivekananda National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research at Olatpur designed the wheelchair.
They saw that people with disabilities had a tough time coming to their university in navigating the wheels with their hands. This moved them to develop the device.
Once charged, the wheelchair can function for about three hours, and it can move at a speed of 15 to 20 km per hour. It has an accelerator and break to control speed and also has an horn. The parts are removable and can be repaired or replaced by local electricians in case of a breakdown.
Trials have been done on people with spinal cord injuries and they have been appreciated. The cost is also affordable for everyone.
“If the wheelchair breaks down, any bicycle repairing shops can fix the problem,” said Golak Bihari Khadanga, Sandeep Patnaik, Abhilash Mohapatra, Sandip Beura, Souma Prakash Acharya and Preeti Payal who have developed it.
“There is a need of support from the government to develop more such wheelchairs,” said the department head Patitapaban Mohanty and professor Basant Kumar Nanda.