Ever thought of people who cannot use their hands and legs due to paralysis or amputation, but want to move around and experience the best quality life? Well, two third-year B Tech students of Vellore’s VIT University, Jagan Mohan and K Dinesh Kumar, had them in mind when they designed a voice-controlled smart wheelchair.
The wheelchair can be manoeuvred with simple commands such as ‘forward’, ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘backward’ and ‘stop’. And, their efforts were recognised when the duo bagged the first prize in the national electronic hardware design contest organized by CoreEl (India) and Digilent (USA) recently.
“We had been working on speech recognition technology for the past six months and chanced upon an advertisement for this competition,” said Jagan Mohan. Using the computing language MATLAB, the duo designed a speech recognition algorithm to detect isolated words and achieved cent per cent accuracy. The software can also be trained to recognise any language or sound.
As many as 102 teams from various universities and colleges took part in the competition. The top 20 ideas were short listed and provided with hardware for their projects. Jagan and Dinesh designed their own controller circuit with the help of their advisor professor Ramesh Babu.
The top four teams were invited to Bangalore for the final presentation where the VIT team was adjudged the winner.
Jagan said the victory has given him fresh impetus to pursue the project. “I want to fine tune the model, include more voice commands and include obstacle and pit detection systems to make the wheelchair safer,” Mohan said.