Slightly tilting the head to the right, to the left, slightly looking down, or looking up. Egyptian researcher Abdelrahman Omran demonstrated how he controlled this brainwave-operated wheelchair.
Omran controls it with a head unit connected to the chair. He can move his head in any direction he wants, including making the chair rotate 360 degrees.
The 24-year-old researcher wants to create a device that can help those who cannot walk or move their limbs.
“There are so many people who cannot control the movement of their hands or feet and therefore cannot control the wheelchair that uses remote or lever. So, the idea behind making this kind of wheelchair is to help those with limb paralysis by using head movements or brain waves to move the chair,” Omran said.
This will make it easier for people who have paralysis to use electric wheelchairs and move without needing anyone’s help, he explained.
He added: “The reason I thought of this idea specifically is because I was born with low oxygen levels and this affects my cells and motor skills. Until I was about five years old, I couldn’t walk. I had eight surgeries and after a number of rehab, I can walk. So now I don’t use a wheelchair anymore. But I think of all the people I share their suffering with, people who can’t walk because they are paralyzed, unable to move their arms and legs.”
Omran then entered his wheelchair design, initially with a simplified version, to various competitions. The project that he has been working on since 2015 was finally taken by Arab Organization for Industrialization which helped him develop and prepare such a wheelchair for mass production.
The organization’s chairman, Ahmed Mohamed Abdelaziz said, “Today we are almost ready to announce the end of the final production stage of this wheelchair. This chair is ready. Now we will start mass production. We will start marketing it. I hope it will cover many sectors in Egypt. There are a lot of people who will need this wheelchair. After that, we will start marketing this wheelchair for export.”
Abdelaziz said Omran had big ambitions and ideas. He hopes his organization can use the talent and ability of the young researcher to keep up with technological advances and apply them in Egypt.
Meanwhile Omran said what he achieved did not happen overnight, and it took hard work to make it happen. He added, “The advice I want to give to those with disabilities is the message I want to convey to their families. They clearly have dreams and as long as their parents believe in them and their abilities, they will achieve their best. They can become poets, writers, artists, but it is the duty of parents to cultivate this. I am one of the lucky ones. My family is supportive and ready to help me, and encourage me to continue to innovate.”
He also reminded the youth that now is the era of power, where only knowledge will be accepted. [uh/ab]