Every time an elderly person struggled to move wheelchairs, 39-year-old PhD scholar Rajesh Kannan would feel a lump in his throat. Acting on that thought, he decided to build a wheelchair which moves based on the person’s hand gestures.
Studying at Amrita University in Kollam, Rajesh knew that it would not be easy to take time out of his schedule to work on something this demanding. To figure a way out, he made the product his college project. “I got an encouraging response when I told the college authorities about my choice of the project,” Rajesh says. But there were other challenges.
With most advanced wheelchairs in the market costing a fortune, making it out of reach for any middle class family, Rajesh wanted to produce something which would never be a financial burden for someone in need. As challenging as it may sound, Rajesh decided to make it happen. “After five years of experiments, some of them failing miserably, I came up with a reasonably priced G-Pad. With this, all that the user needs to do is put their hand on the pad and decide in which direction they want to head,” he says.
Rajesh admits that the project wouldn’t be in its advanced stage if his juniors hadn’t helped him. “Each batch had some students who voluntarily came up to me and asked if they could contribute,” he says with a smile.
Going ahead, Rajesh wants to donate some of the wheelchairs to hospitals. “If hospitals start using them, the differently-abled won’t have the psychological pressure of being dependent on someone.”