Bihar Boy Makes Voice-Controlled Wheelchair For Grandfather


Patna: Anurag Prakash, a final semester student at the Birla Institute of Technology in Patna, set out to make his grandfather happy and in the process did the country proud.

Touched by his grandfather’s wish to move around independently and do his own tasks even in the twilight years of his life, Prakash created a voice-controlled chair for him.

“My grandfather hates it when somebody tries to help him with his daily chores or holds his hand to help him walk. I am sure there are many more like him. I wanted to do something for them,” Ashutosh Prakash was quoted as telling Hindustan Times. The idea came to him during his internship at IIT-Patna, where he was encouraged and guided by his mentor, Dr Atul Thakur.

Greatly inspired by physicist Stephen Hawking, who owns a voice-controlled wheelchair, Prakash created this version which responds to voice commands for four basic movements — left, right, forward and reverse; it even stops when it encounters an obstacle or approaches a staircase.

The wheelchair which costs Rs 20,000 comes with a motor and battery, voice processor, micro-controls to amplify signals and microchips. It can carry around a person weighing up to 80 kg.

Prakash has certainly done everyone proud and he created this wheelchair not to profit from it, but to help others who need it the most. Which is why Prakash left the design open-ended so that if anyone comes up with suggestions to improve the wheelchair, he is totally game for it.