Many international universities are fostering students' natural curiosity and ingenuity to create new products to help their fellow citizens. Such is the case at HCM City University of Transport where, as the name implies, Vietnamese students focus on developing new, efficient forms of transportation. Recently, they revealed prototypes of the students' solar-run scooter and a new battery-operated wheelchair that can be produced at a much lower cost that those produced in western countries.
Solar vehicle created by students at HCM City University of Transport in Viêt Nam: image via Viêt Nam News
With the guidance of their professors, Le Cong Danh and Tran Cong Tri, seven students have designed and prototyped a solar one-person vehicle resembling a small motor scooter. About 2 by 1 meters, the solar vehicle weighs 106 pounds, and is capable of hitting 45 kilometers (about 28 mph). An extra battery is installed on the vehicle for cloudy days, although it is not needed on sunny days.
The solar vehicle is currently being put to work in the Sai Gon High-Tech Park as the means of internal transportation. The students plan to re-design the vehicle so that it can accommodate 6 to 8 passengers.
Lecturer Danh said, "The solar vehicle is convenient for internal transportation. Because it consumes only natural energy, it can help to reduce exhaust fumes and noise and save natural resources. The vehicle can be upgraded to reach the speed of 60km per hour (equivalent to that of a motorbike) for up to 100km."
Wheelchair developed by students at HCM City University of Transport in Viêt Nam: image via Viêt Nam NewsAnother product will help those who rely on wheelchairs for transportation. At about 20 percent of the cost of a western-made wheelchair, the students developed a wheelchair that operates on two batteries which power it for up to 15 miles at about 6.2 mph. Easy to operate, the wheelchair only has one control, but the control has several functions, allowing the user to go forward, backward, turn left, and turn right. The same stick controls the speed of the wheelchair.
Though the wheelchair does not have commercial support as yet, several people are already interested in purchasing it for their own use. The students will upgrade the wheelchair to include a locating system and an alarm that can send messages to family or friends in case of an emergency. The best part of the wheelchair is that it will be comfortable for the user to sit on and to sleep!
source: Viêt Nam News