Birzeit Students Invent Electric ‘Smart’ Chair With Wider Range of Motion

As part of their graduation project, three Birzeit students of Mechatronics Engineering have invented an electric chair able to climb and descend stairs easily, to help people with disabilities and facilitate their movement. The invention is currently taking part in the Arab Innovation Network competition, based in Britain.

Students Shuaa’ Mari, Khaled Subaih and Hamza Hattab, working under the supervision of Professor Hussein Amro and assisted by laboratory technician Alaa’ Qarqash, were able to invent a "smart chair" that allows the disabled to move in a wider range despite traffic barriers, as well as go up and down the stairs.

Shuaa says, "The project took about nine months of hard work, as the chair was designed to control the chair system through the central processing unit that receives signals. There is an elastic vector installed at the bottom of the chair that receives the signal [before] the chair starts going up the stairs. "

Khalid said that the idea of the chair stemmed out from dealing with people with motor disabilities on campus; nearly 113,000 Palestinians have disabilities that hinder their movement.

The project is competing in the AIN contest alongside more than 100 other projects and ranked first among Arab countries in the first phase of the competition. Head of the AIN student branch at Birzeit University Samih Asfour said that the project team is now competing against the best 15 teams in the Arab world, and the final results will be announced by the end of September 2014.

The AIN is a non-profit organization aimed at providing a platform for practitioners, researchers, students and young professionals to exchange experiences, discuss trends and showcase their knowledge about health environment, engineering and entrepreneurship.

To see the project in action, go to