Yet another success story: Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT) and their students from the Faculty of Technical Education (Team MEC_T) won their final in ‘Wheel Share Journey’, a competition where innovative wheel chairs are specially designed for the disables by the RMUTT representatives leading the team, Mr. Pornpana Kaopae or ‘Mac’ and his teammates, Mr. Teeraphun Kongdeepun or ‘Rain’, Mr. Varut Butsyarusmee or ‘Tula’ Ms. Supisara Kaweewon or ‘Aey’ and Mr. Pornpanna Rattanapun. The first three members of the team represented their Department of Mechatronics and Robotics while the other two were from the Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Education Technology. The team had been consulted and supported by their advisor and caretaker, Mr Thanarat Chaowapun who had been working prior and during the competition. Regarding to the competition, from 287 teams rivaling in the competition, only 10 teams were selected to compete in the final stage of the Wheel Share Journey competition. The objective of the tournament was to help design and create prototype wheelchairs for the disables that optimize their potentials in accommodating the disables in the tourist attraction area and hopefully produced them for other tourist attractions around Thailand. This competitive event was held with the a joint effort between Boon Rawd Brewery Co.,Ltd and Rajamangala Unversity of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT).
This special event was held at the Songtanapitak Hall, Office of the President of Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi, Pathum Thani and being honorably judging by Thailand’s national disabled fencing athlete Ms. Saisunee Jana, national disabled archer athlete, Mr. Tien Thongloi, and national disabled tennis athlete, Ms. Chanakarn Taechamaneewat.
Mac revealed that from his very first start of his wheel chair project, his advisor had given him important ideas especially how the wheelchair should be built to help accommodate users commute in different type of areas and yet the vehicle itself is duty-bounded with durability, ease of maintenance, and low cost budget that was less than 3,500 THB. After the meeting concluded, members of the team all agreed that appropriate and well-built wheelchair should be given its concerns on area leveling and how this problem should be resolved. Conclusively, decision had been made by building a wheelchair adapted its concept from a Fat Bike that is an off-road bicycle with designed for low ground pressure to allow riding on soft, unstable terrain, such as sand, bogs and mud.
While its front tires adapted from Japanese snow cart and snow wheeling system were installed additionally to help control the vehicle well on sand terrain without any wheel sinking.
“Rain” one of the team members also added that the concept of installing anti-reverse system was adapted from idea of using airport cart that could be stopped by the disables at any time in either stable terrain or slope area. This particular idea was very useful especially if the vehicle can be stopped going backward during the resting time of the disables.
“During the final round of the competition, our wheelchair were tested in four different types of areas including unstable terrain, slope terrain, slant terrain and sandy terrain. Amazingly, the vehicle was able to pass all the tests with ease.
Whereas Tula also added his thoughts, “We have also installed GPS navigating system in case the wheelchair accidentally flipped over or haven’t functioned normally. Moreover, installation of SOS signal system was built in whether or not any unexpected event or emergency incidence occurs. The system itself could warn either the disabled caretaker or the officials through ‘Line’ software application. To further enhance the wheelchair, however, this prototype vehicle must perform their better by lessening its weight and size and adding its durability and agility.
“Through this competitive experience, we had been taught and learned the true equality among the disables and use and we sure hope to continue this very important concept in our upcoming future.”