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HP STEAM Expo Innovation Award Application

Briefly explain your idea and outline your potential target audience. How did you come up with the idea and what makes it innovative? (Maximum 200 words) 

Our innovation is inspired by a close friend who suffers from immobility, and due to a turn of unforeseen events, was recently diagnosed with visual impairment. We have decided to work on a rea- life problem to address the needs of people of determination that suffer from visual impairment and paraplegia.

Even though we are countries apart we share a vision of allowing people of determination to have ease of mobility and independence.

We have decided to innovate the wheelchair, to provide the user with the opportunity to connect with others whilst moving around freely. The wheelchair will be installed with sensors, acting as artificial eyes to its users and contributing to ease of mobility. The sensors will detect any obstacles within a 1-meter radius and automatically choose an alternative pathway. For any sudden obstacles that are detected, a buzzer will sound to alert the user on the wheelchair as well as raise awareness to others. The wheelchair will be powered by solar energy, eliminating the usage of battery packs and promoting sustainability. It will be controlled using either an inbuilt joystick or the hand gestured recognition system, operated with the help of the Arduino microcontroller and accelerometer sensor.

Briefly explain why the problem you chose is important and how it aligns with the Expo 2020 subtheme/s. (Maximum 200 words)

Prioritizing innovation today is the key to achieving post crisis growth. The 2020 Summer Paralympics, Tokyo was a great eye opener for me and my partner, as to what people of determination can achieve. Perseverance with innovations can support growth mindset, to overcome some of the problems that are often faced by disabilities. Seeing how technological advancement such as bionic eyes, arms, legs, knee-guard etc., can bring about a drastic change on how people of determination can sustain their lives without being dependent on anyone, we decided to develop an idea for people of determination.

Our idea actually aligns to all 3 subthemes of the Expo2021:
Mobility – Ease of movement

Sustainability – Powered by solar panels
Opportunity – Can network with individuals independently.

Briefly explain what the next steps are in developing your idea. (Maximum 200 words) 

If our idea gets selected, we would first need to identify the support- equipment and components required to build a prototype of our innovation. We would need to draw the overall circuit which will control the motion of the motor as well as the proximity sensor. The circuit design should be configured in such a way so that it is equipped with the Arduino, solar panels, motor drivers, ultrasonic sensors, buzzer, switches, comparator, frequency transmitters, accelerometer etc.

If time permits and if we can gain more insight into how GPS systems work, then we can optimize the wheelchair by adding a GPS system to know the exact location of the person who is in the wheelchair. Using a GSM module an SMS can be sent to a predefined number in case of any emergency.

Maximum weight capacity tests would need to be carried out once the prototype is built to ensure the wheelchair functions adequately.

Future innovations: Improvisations can be made to the design to make the wheelchair more accessible to those suffering from complete paralysis.

What are the differentiating features of your innovation? (Maximum 200 words) 

The most striking feature of Vision on The Move are:

  • The ability to navigate the wheelchair using hand gestures
  • The ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles
  • The buzzer acting as a warning system

Exisiting innovations already have:

  • Solar panels
  • Joystick for movement control  

Who would be your top three competitors in industry? (Maximum 200 words) 

  • KD Smart Chair- they provide lightweight folding power wheelchairs for people with mobility issues, as well as accessories to help them customize their chairs.  They also rolled out a heavy-duty model that weighs just 59 pounds but can support a passenger weight of up to 396 pounds

  • WHILL Inc- they provide wheelchair with 4WD capabilities, 5.5 mph max speed, 10-degree incline capability. WHILL also includes an iPhone app, which connects via Bluetooth for remote control of the device. The app allows you to adjust the seat and driving/control settings, and even includes a security locking mechanism.

  • KARMAN XO-505- it’s a power recline wheelchair that allows users to recline the seat and elevate, so you get more mobility and can maneuver easily. You can find a comfortable position that suits your specific needs. They provide a joystick feature for you to move around. They have optional accessories including a food tray, cup holder, safety alarm, and more.

Sample Application Video