It was while flipping through TV channels a few months ago that Renjith R, who was then pursuing his MSc Electronics course in National College, Manacaud, saw a man travelling on a two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicle inside a shopping mall. Realising the immense practical applications that such a vehicle can have in various fields, the 26-year-old decided to build one on his own. Coincidentally, it was also the time when Renjith’s final semester project was due. Instead of presenting tried and tested demo models, the youngster decided to present a proper working model of a battery-operated vehicle as his final year project.
‘’I surfed the internet and found that such human transporters are quite popular in Western countries. I was thinking of the help it can offer to senior citizens who can’t walk for long distances and also to workers who frequently shuttle from one section of a facility to another. It can also be used by security staff for patrolling large areas,” said Renjith.
After zeroing in on the choice for his project and understanding the technology behind it, the tougher task of making one such vehicle on his own lay ahead.
“The human transporter devised by Renjith works on the idea of inverted pendulum and uses advanced principles of embedded technology so as to enable it to travel in any direction,” said Prof Basheer Kannu, Principal of National College.
Even though many students have devised battery-operated vehicles as part of their joint project, Renjith’s work is definitely an achievement as it was an individual project, he said.
“The human transporter can travel effortlessly even through narrow lanes and it can achieve speeds from five kmph to 40 kmph. As the user arches towards the front or back, a sensor detects the motion and powers the motor by supplying the charge from a battery,” said Renjith.
“The motor used in my vehicle has been sourced from an electric wheelchair and the battery is of seven Ah. The vehicle can accommodate a battery of 100 Ah which can enable travel up to 50 kilometres in a single charge,” he said.
The transporter, temporarily named Segway, was built at a cost of Rs 75,000 and Renjith believes the cost factor can be brought down considerably if it is mass-produced. I am on the lookout for entrepreneurs who can help me in launching its commercial production,” said Rajesh, who is now working in a company specialising in embedded solutions.