Future is all about Artificial Intelligence and Brain Computer Interface, says Ajaz believing that handicapped people will no longer be a burden on others.
By Saima Shakeel
AT 21, Ajaz Hussain has already become a “tech-messiah” for the disabled people, given how his innovations are ending the traditional caregiving support to them.
His EEG (Electroencephalogram) enabled wheelchair, for instance, is helping disabled persons in their daily needs without any assistance.
“Existing wheelchairs require the help of another person to move or the user’s finger to operate via a joystick or buttons,” Ajaz, a resident of Hazratbal, Srinagar, says.
“But my wheelchair is for completely crippled persons who can’t even lift their hands to control the wheelchair. This is for those who can only use their minds.”
The young techie’s innovation will function by capturing beta waves or EEG signals from the brain, which will then be used to drive the wheelchair.
According to him, such technology can change the shape of impaired people’s lives.
“Brain Computer Interface or BCI can have a dramatic impact on the life of a disabled or old person or persons with locked-in syndrome since it allows control over numerous gadgets without any requirement of movement of the body parts,” he explains. “Such folks can control by paying attention or blinking.”
But if there’s a wheelchair like this, Ajaz, a BCA student at Amar Singh College, says, it will cost around Rs. 40 lakh “but I’m trying to make it affordable for all”.
Destination Mapping, he adds, is a key element of the EEG-controlled wheelchair. As the user goes around and autonomously achieves desired spots, the wheelchair creates a virtual map by collecting commands from a smart interface.
Ajaz has already conducted extensive study and consulted more than 50 papers on wheelchairs from reputable magazines such as IEEE, Science Direct, and others.
“An innovator can make an innovation if he has enough knowledge of past things,” he says. “Even if a system requires a minor update, you should acquire all of the information before upgrading it.”
Ajaz believes that the high expense of modern medical facilities has prevented many needy and impoverished individuals from benefiting from them. “Many updated medical facilities are in place, but the average person cannot afford them,” he says. “We must innovate in such a way that their costs are reasonable to all.”
When developing the improvements, he had to confer with doctors numerous times because any more changes to the gadget could have an effect on the patient. “I consulted doctors at every stage of development,” he says, “and specialists have responded positively to my inventions.”
To promote robotics and technical knowledge among the younger generation, Ajaz and his friend Naveed have founded the F1 Tech Club. Members of the club come from different universities and colleges of Kashmir, as well as from other countries and prestigious Indian institutes.
“One must pay attention to the medical and health sector,” Ajaz states. “Medical breakthroughs are few in comparison to other professions, and we need to make good health available to all people, regardless of their socioeconomic condition.”
Inspired by Iranian physicist Mostafa Chamran Save’ei, Ajaz has already become a bio-mechatronic expert incubated in the NIT (National Institute of Technology), Srinagar, where he’s giving lectures to seniors on the subject.
Under the supervision of Dr. Sandeep Rathee—Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, NIT, Srinagar—Ajaz and three other mechanical engineering students- Avinash, Malik Arslan and Arbina- created the Soft Robotic Glove. MSME (Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) is funding the invention.
“Soft Robotic Glove is a BCI-enabled neuro-rehabilitation device that uses haptic feedback,” Ajaz says. “It takes the place of a physiotherapist. This technology will allow the human brain to communicate with the glove by sending impulses to it via the emotive headset. The glove contains internationally authorised medicines.”
The headset has sensors that are worn by the patient and record brain activity. It will detect brain activity and translate it into commands that will operate the glove, allowing individuals to perform activities more effectively. “It has been demonstrated that such robot-assisted active training is more effective than passive methods and can improve treatment outcomes.”
Since childhood, Ajaz was fascinated with gadgets and would often experiment with them. “My parents would yell at me if I opened the television, refrigerator, or any other item, but I would fix them,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot along the road, and I’ve always wanted to create devices that would have a positive impact on society and aid people in the health sector.”
Innovations take time and a lot of approval and acceptance, he says. “If you want something unusual to happen, you must be patient.”
Future is all about Artificial Intelligence and Brain Computer Interface, says Ajaz believing that handicapped people will no longer be a burden on others. “Such patients can conduct their daily activities using their brain and are not a liability to anyone.”
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