D.N.I.S. News Network – A student of St. Mary’s Convent Inter College in Kanpur has designed a foot-operated device that can be fixed on a two-wheeler allowing it be operated by using only the lower limbs.
The device has been created by Malvika Tiwari, who was inspired by her father, Kali Vinod Tiwari, who is a person with disability, and her mother, Roma Tiwari, who teaches children with mental disabilities at “Asha Kiran” Army School.
She was struck by the idea of creating the device after she observed that people with lower limb disabilities can drive vehicles using their hands, but no such option was available to people who cannot use their hands.
Since eighth standard, Malvika began her endeavor to design a device that would allow people who cannot use their hands. She attended several programmes, workshops and exhibitions, besides meeting over 50 disabled people to get feedback on features and functions that would be needed on such a device.
The device consists of a support and a main device. The support device has extra wheels and a back bracket to support the person while driving. The main device is an attachment, which can be fastened to an auto-geared scooter. The machine has a footboard, which contains of an accelerator, brakes to control the speed of the vehicle and pedals to turn the vehicle.
The board has push buttons for indicators, dipper and headlight switches. The start button is at the knee level so that the rider can start the vehicle by his own. The other side has a horn. Pedals are used to turn the vehicle. The average speed of the vehicle using the device is 40km/h.
Malvika has recently returned from Arizona, U.S.A. where she took part in prestigious International Science and Engineering Fair (I.S.E.F.). She won an award in the individual engineering category for her project that was entitled “Foot operated vehicle device for persons with disability in upper extremity”.
She has already got the device evaluated and verified at the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre (V.R.C.) Kanpur. She won her first award for this project in December 2004 at the National Science Talent and Discovery Fair held at Anna University, Chennai. Later, in January 2005 her project was selected by a panel of judges comprising of scientists at Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai who recommended her project as one of the Indian entries at the I.S.E.F.Realising that the un-geared version may not be affordable for many; she is now busy designing a device that can be used on a geared scoter.
Contributed by: Ram K. Goel & Kabir Krishna