Budding engineers help the elderly

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 March, 2011, 12:00am

Kenneth Yung Hon-yi is putting a stop to wheelchairs.

The University of Hong Kong mechanical engineering graduate's design for an automatic wheelchair brake won him one of the top prizes during last week's Hong Kong Engineering Week.

The device fits underneath the wheelchair's seat and stops the chair from moving when somebody is sitting in it. It can be used with most wheelchairs.

Yung was inspired to come up with the design by several elderly people who told him about wheelchairs rolling backwards. They said it was frustrating and could easily cause accidents. Yung plans to register the design and see if any companies want to make it for the market.

Ho Wing-ki and Yau Hoi-yan, both 14, from TWGHs Chang Ming Thien College, are also making the little things in life easier for the elderly.

The duo's design for a nail clipping aid won them the top prize in the creative household product category for secondary students.

They came up with the aid, which is shaped like a gun's trigger, when they saw the problems elderly people had clipping their nails when their hands shook.

The aid fits into a regular nail clipper and helps steady the user's hand.

More than 1,000 young aspiring engineers took part in the week's conferences and contests.