Twesha Ghosh ’22 wins awards at the Alameda County Science and Engineering fair

Twesha Ghosh ’22  competed at the Alameda County Science and Engineering fair, which took place March 6-8, 2020. Her inclusive project, “Reach-Able” – the elevating wheelchair, won the Chevron Innovation Award as well as the Directors Special Award. The Chevron Award is a $500 scholarship given to students who demonstrate integrity, trust, diversity, ingenuity, partnership, collaboration, teamwork, and high performance through their projects. 

Twesha describes the inspiration for her project as follows: “My ideas come from the accessible challenges that I have seen within my family and my surroundings. I try to focus on solutions that are economical and easily implementable so that it can reach a lot of people. This project aims to create an economical, affordable, self-elevating, always functional (mechanically powered) wheelchair that can be raised to a desirable height for a better quality of life.
“Today there are no self-elevating wheelchairs that are reasonably priced and battery independent. If a person in a wheelchair wants to reach for something at a height sitting in a regular wheelchair, they cannot do this without the help of another person. Elevating wheelchairs are available today and use very expensive materials to make the wheelchair self-elevating. Even so, the wheelchair only raises 6-8 inches and is not affordable to the general population. Normal wheelchairs prohibit one from reaching higher than arm’s length.
“This project aims to create a wheelchair that addresses all the issues mentioned above. The project uses a mechanical system of hydraulics to lift the seat of the wheelchair with ease and without another person. The hydraulic pump will be powered by a lever that will enable the user to elevate the seat with minimal effort.”
Her design brings hope of increased independence to those who use a wheelchair. We are proud of her work and congratulate her on her accomplishment!