The students of the Faculty of Engineering, Thammasat University, including Ms.Chanakarn Arunothaisantikul, Mr.Kraiwit Udomsaweangsap, Mr.Wisarut Srisuwannawattana, and Mr.Nattawut Mayang, have created an innovative electric wheelchair for children with cerebral palsy and ALS to help them support their development.
Ms.Chanakarn Arunothaisantikul says, “Currently, people have awareness about the issues that children with cerebral palsy have to face but there is still a lack of innovation that can help to support their development. Our team realized that if these children can participate in activities with other kids, they can improve their growth and development. Therefore, we aspire to build electric wheelchairs for children with cerebral palsy and ALS.”
Mr.Nattawut Mayang explains about the mechanism used in the electric wheelchair, ” Moving and changing direction is controlled by middle wheels using an electric motor. The speed of wheelchair can be adjusted in 5 levels by using a joystick. The front and back wheels are supporting wheels using parallel links to balance the wheels. Moreover, the wheelchair can be converted from sitting to standing position so children can move and enjoy more activities. To convert to standing position, the wheelchair will be adjusted to lying position first and then changed to standing position using linear actuator.”
The distinctive point of this electric wheelchair is the presence of 6 wheels that makes it more effective in preventing overturning than a traditional 4-wheel wheelchair.
The sitting wheelchair can support up to 80 kg., while the standing one can support 50 kg. It is suitable for children who are shorter than 140 cm.
Currently, electric wheelchairs are delivered to Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, in order to test with patients. After we get the user feedback, we will do further development on the wheelchair for better usage and sell it in the future.
This innovation from Thammasat University Engineering students has won many outstanding awards, including Gold Prize from Thailand Inventors’ Day 2020, Medal Prize from I-new gen award 2020, Taiwan’s Merit i-CREATe 2020 award, and 3rd runner-up award from Motor Expo 2019.