Going about their daily lives is also a huge struggle for the differently abled. It takes extra efforts for them to do things we don’t really even pay attention to. transportation is specially difficult for them since regular means of transport are not always adapted according to their needs. The entire struggle increases in multifold when we, the “people with fully functioning bodies” step back and do not help. Even as Google is testing its self-driving cars on roads, some engineering students from IIT Kharagpur have come up with a ‘Make in India’ innovation – a driver-less bicycle. When Ayush Pandey and Subhamoy Mahajan, students of IIT Kharagpur saw the struggle of their differently abled friends in their college, they decided to do something about it. Even if they could ride the bicycle, dealing with parking spaces was difficult, since such spaces are not disabled friendly. These students, with an aim to solve this issue, went on and made an autonomous bicycle, iBike.
In the recently held KPIT Sparkle 2016, an annual national design and development innovation contest for engineering and science students across India, these students exhibited the iBike and took home the first prize. The theme of the competition was ‘Smart Solutions for Energy and Transportation’, where the iBike idea won from among 1,700 other innovative ideas. The autonomous steering, braking, drive and balancing mechanisms differentiate this bicycle from other bicycles that need a rider. With iBike, this team plans to solve the last mile transportation problem in many urban cities. The bicycle is primarily for use by people with disabilities, like amputees and the visually impaired, but will also be very useful to commuters who struggle to find affordable means of transport after getting off local trains, metros, and buses. Once the team has the patent, they plan to collaborate with companies willing to start bicycle sharing centres in India.
KHYATI PATHAK | TOC
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