9 February 2023

Česká Hlavička awardees with a passion for engineering

Jiří Mošner (left) with other awardees of Česká hlavička | Autor: České hlavičky

Four students of the Higher Technical School and the Secondary Technical School in Žďár nad Sázavou won this year's Česká hlavička, an award supporting talented students in technical and natural sciences. They received this prestigious award for the design and construction of an additional electric drive for a wheelchair of a former student of the school, Štěpán Pejchl. Jiří Mošner, who received the award on behalf of the whole team in October, has decided to study at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of BUT after graduation. The fact is, that engineering is truly in his blood.

Today, Jiří Mošner is studying mechanical engineering in his first year. He says it did not even occur to him that it could be otherwise. "In our family, everyone is connected with engineering, I have decided for it since I was a child. First, I went to technical school in Žďár and now to BUT in Brno, which, in my opinion, hosts the most prestigious faculty of mechanical engineering in the country," he says.

Jiří Mošner (left) received the award for the whole team | Autor: České hlavičky
At the end of October, he received the award in Brno, at the local observatory. He won the prestigious prize – similar to the government Česká hlava award – together with three other students, Matěj, Honza and Petr. "Our high school, has a long tradition of students’ projects. I took the opportunity to embark on one project instead of graduating from vocational subjects: our teachers came up with the idea to design and manufacture an electric drive for the wheelchair of our former student Štěpán. It seemed to me like a great idea that can really help someone," Mošner recalls his graduation work, which eventually took a whole year.

Jiří Mošner with Štěpán Pejchl using the improved wheelchair | Autor: archive of J. Mošner
The first to be created was the computer model of the wheelchair, followed in the next tens of hours by the first designs of the drive. "We were fine-tuning them for a long time, and of course only the last one entered production," says Mošner. Since they knew nothing about wheelchair drives, they naturally also looked into how professional manufacturers made them. In the end, however, their product is different in many ways. "Our designs features rotation directly in the drive, where the bearings are, which we assessed as the best for operating the wheelchair. We also chose a different location of the battery, the overall construction and attachment to the wheelchair. Mounting it was the hardest: the drive had to be easy to remove, yet also sufficiently robust," says Mošner. He himself together with his friend Matěj devoted themselves to the engineering part, two students of electrical engineering focused on the electrotechnical part of the project.

Success: Since spring, Štěpán has been able to use the additional drive for his wheelchair, which will make his life much easier. Maybe only on the way home, because he lives on a relatively steep hill. The auxiliary drive weighs about fourteen kilograms and allows for a speed of up to twenty-five kilometers per hour. It also includes a number of features, such as folding handlebars and a speedometer, which shows the speed and status of the battery. The production of the drive came up to 30,000 CZK, which was covered by a sponsorship gift. A commercially purchased drive would cost Štěpán at least twice as much, but it is true that the students worked on the project for free and the costs of 30,000 represent only the basic price of material.

Štěpán's wheelchair with an auxiliary electric drive | Autor: archive of J. Mošner
České hlavičky is not the first award that the team has won, they also came second in one of the categories of nationwide Students’ Professional Activities. "We are happy to see how many people appreciated our project," says Mošner. He does not yet know where the future will take him, but he can imagine another continuation of the successful project. "It could help a lot of people," says Mošner. But he certainly knows he wants to stay in this business. As has already been said, engineering is simply in his blood.



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