Two students from a Ho Chi Minh City high school have won a third prize at an international science-engineering fair held in the U.S. this month with their all-terrain wheelchair.
Nguyen Hoang Ngan and Pham Thanh Truc, both seniors at Le Hong Phong High School for the Gifted in District 5, were announced third-prize winners in the Engineering Mechanics category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2016 (Intel ISEF 2016), organized by Intel Corporation, on May 13.
Ngan and Truc said their highest goal in joining the fair was not to win the first prize, but to appeal to U.S. sponsors to mass produce their creation.
The pair added that they would still be willing to exchange ideas even if an investor would only show an interest in their product, as their ultimate goal is to help the elderly and disabled in Vietnam.
The duo’s all-terrain wheelchair, codenamed TN98, which are the initials of their respective names and their year of birth, earned them the first prize at the 2016 National Science Contest for high school students in the southern region, which was held in Dong Nai Province in March.
The wheelchair is equipped with a controller to control its basic movements such as forward, stop, left, right, and a sensor to automatically adjust the chair’s inclination.
Compared to wheelchairs with similar functionalities, TN98 is smaller in size, which helps it get through narrow areas such as doors, corridors, elevators, porches, and others.
One notable feature of TN98 is that it helps the operator climb stairs as steep as 30 degrees in gradient while maintaining a balanced position for the user.
The Intel ISEF, a program of the Society for Science & the Public (SSP), is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.
The competition this year, held in Phoenix City, Arizona, attracted more than 1,700 high school students from over 70 countries, regions, and territories to showcase their independent research and compete for more than $5 million in prizes, according to the SSP’s website.
Alongside Ngan and Truc, three other Vietnamese groups also placed third at the fair, including those from the High School for Gifted Students under the Hanoi National University of Education, the High School for Gifted Students under the Hanoi University of Science, and Thang Long High School for the Gifted in Lam Dong, a province in the Central Highlands.