Thinking Outside the Box – a Revolutionary Robotic Wheelchair

A 16 year old student from Hobart, Yaya Lu, has amazed some of the most advanced medical thinkers in the world with her concept of a robotic wheelchair, designed to respond to speech commands. Although this is not a new idea, the concept that really sets her wheelchair apart is its ability to respond to non-language-specific voice sounds – a combination of  the long and short sounds dah and dit – a concept which will give some independence back to complete paraplegics of any nationality.

Image courtesy of The Mercury Newspaper, front page, 28 July 2008.

Recently, after winning a CSIRO Science Award for her project, she was invited to present a research paper to the 5th Biomedical Engineering International Conference in Bangkok, a conference which normally only accepts papers from post-graduate students and university lecturers. (See Australian schoolgirl a science sensation)

While her wheelchair will benefit countless people in the future, Laya has been designing and playing with robots for a long time, all of which she has documented on her web pages since 2006:

This is a great example of someone who has created a positive online presence that will prove to prospective employers her ongoing passion for robotics and her commitment to innovation and creativity.