Helping Handicapped Individuals Drive


Boys Town Jerusalem College of Applied Engineering student Reuven Aknin has clinched second prize in a recent Israeli Ministry of Education contest for Electronic Projects for the Handicapped. His senior project, an innovative electronic “helmet” that could enable handicapped persons to drive a car, was awarded the silver medal in the prestigious nationwide contest held at Tel Aviv University. The idea is the brainchild of Aknin’s advisor Yossi Lavie.

The project involves the use of a helmet equipped with several small movement sensors. With a slight nod of the head forwards, backwards, left or right, the driver can automatically propel the car in the desired direction. The sensors broadcast a signal to the receiver located in the motor, where an embedded microcontroller (a small computer on a single integrated circuit) instantly transforms the code to set the car in motion towards the instructed direction.The entire system is wireless, demanding no movement from the handicapped driver other than a shake of the head.

Reuven Aknin, 20, lives in Bet Shemesh. He was born in New York and immigrated to Israel as an infant. His father, of Moroccan descent, is an electrical engineer. His mother, who is from France, is unemployed. Reuven was selected for the prestigious IDF “Shachak” program, a cooperative effort between the IDF and Boys Town’s College of Applied Engineering (CAE) to train electronics specialists for the Israeli Air Force. He hopes to pursue a career in electronics following his five years of service in the IDF.

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