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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

LUMS Engineer Builds Pakistan’s First Voice-Operated Wheelchair

Using Pakistani talent, with a pool of efficient engineers, a little assistance from the government can make Pakistan a globally competitive technological-oriented country

Faiz Arbab, a student of MS Electrical Engineering at the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), has introduced the country’s first smart wheelchair for differently-abled people.

Pakistan’s first locally-made smart wheelchair can be operated through a smartphone and voice, has won the Best Consumer Product Design Award and National Design Awards. The wheelchair named GOBEE is introduced in the market in June.

The idea first came to Faiz in 2015 as a term project for his BS at the University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Faisalabad Campus. He, however, was unable to complete the project and kept on working on it, before completing it successfully in 2016.

He later presented his idea to the National Incubation Center at LUMS and started working on his project since scratch as he had sold all the hardware and equipment.

It has a top speed of 18 km per hour and it can run for 25kms per charge. He said that the wheelchair can fully charge in 150 minutes.

After the launch in June this year, Arbab went on to create his company named Ayub Yaqoob Engineering Company (AYECo), through which he is selling the wheelchair at an affordable price.

Arbab while talking to the local media outlet, added that there are currently 800,000 people in the country desperately in need of electronic wheelchairs. Adding that, “Out of them, only 1 percent can buy an electric wheelchair.”

Even before the beginning of his start-up, he had received multiple pre-orders with many of the wheelchairs to be donated. He asserted that “In Pakistan, there are a total of 12 percent smart wheelchair users. The rest of the 11 percent acquire them through donations from NGOs and Punjab Welfare Trust for Disabled (PWTD). Most of these wheelchairs are used and imported from Japan.”

While explaining the mechanism of the wheelchair, Arbab said that that voice-operated wheelchair could be remotely controlled through a smartphone over a range of 100 feet wirelessly. It has a top speed of 18 km per hour and it can run for 25kms per charge. He said that the wheelchair can fully charge in 150 minutes.

Read more: Pakistani engineers develop robotic arm that will obey your brain

The GOBEE cost 100,000 while China-made is available for Rs145,000 in the market.