This is one of the greatest news for disabled people and senior citizens when Faculty of Engineering, Thammasat University introduced Plug & Go Wheelchair innovation. The innovation makes their life easier and more convenient. When they go outside, they can plug additional wheels to the wheelchair and press go in order to start moving the wheelchair.
The innovation won 2 awards from the competition on innovation for disabled and senior people. The competition was held in IMPACT Exhibition Center, Nonthaburi. Users can control wheelchair in three steps which are moving forward, not moving and moving backward.
Mr. Methasith Kiatchaipa, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student, Faculty of Engineering, Thammasat University, and a representative from innovation team “Plug & Go Wheelchair” reveals that we develop “Plug & Go Wheelchair” which is an innovation of added motor wheel. The wheelchair will be speeded up and can be controlled easier and more convenient. Users can install the additional wheel to aluminium beam under the wheelchair, press the start button, and twist the accelerator. Senior citizens and handicapped people will be able to go outside even though the paveway is rough or steep.
This innovation requires three elements. First, the horizontal aluminium beam under the wheelchair is used to install wheelchair and connected to motor wheel. Second, the additional motor wheel is able to run 23km/hr. Battery allows wheelchair to run 18km/hr (3-4 hours) per one-time charge. Vertical aluminium beam is connected to the horizontal aluminium beam under the wheelchair which patients can assemble it in 6 seconds. Third, control panel is used to control directions of the wheelchair which are moving forward, not moving and moving backward. The panel will show numbers which signify direction. Number “1” is moving forward, the number “0” is not moving and the number “2” is moving backwards.
In addition, researcher team applies new design technique in making “Plug & Go Wheelchair”. Inventors use aluminium instead of iron in 2 parts which are aluminium beam under wheelchair and additional motor wheel. Inventors’ main concerns are the weight of this wheelchair, patient usage, and cost reduction.
Nevertheless, this innovation can be installed in patient’s old wheelchair. Patients can fold down and store it in their car or taxi in 5 minutes. “Plug & Go Wheelchair” innovation has registered a patent under “Thammasat University” name. The innovation cost is 20,000 Baht and we plan to sell it for 28,000 Baht. This innovation was awarded a silver medal in Medical Engineering and innovation for disabled people. It also received special award from the40th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva at Geneva, Switzerland. Recently, it was awarded the second prize from Thailand Friendly Design Expo 2019 at IMPACT Exhibition Hall, Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi.
Asst.Prof.Dr.Banyong Roongruengboon, Director of Creative Engineering Design and Development Laboratory (CED2) and Head of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Thammasat University, believes that travelling and going outside are another way to feel relaxed and reduce stress. Likewise, “patients or disabled people” rely on wheelchair to travel and go outside. Their life is restricted and sometimes they cannot travel freely and comfortably.
“Development of innovation allows patients to live their lives and better their quality of life. Patients will be able to recuperate faster in the future.”.It is an alternative way for senior citizens and patients to go outside conveniently. We keep developing and advancing innovation for Thai people in order to be “University for People”.