28 May 2019
IIT alumnus develops solution to get rid of uncomfortable crutches
Written byAyushi Chamoli ·
A number of people with temporary or permanent mobility issues often use crutches. Though crutches assist them to move around, they are not very comfortable to use.
People using crutches often face a lot of difficulty in walking on different surfaces or climbing up stairs.
To solve these problems, IIT-Delhi alumnus, Srinivas Adepu, has designed innovative crutches that work on all terrains.
Idea struck Srinivas after his friend hurt his ankle
Srinivas, who hails from Godavarikhani in Telangana, pursued his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from IIT-D (2015-17).
During his first-year, one of his friends hurt his ankle while playing basketball and had to use an uncomfortable pair of crutches to walk.
Watching his friend struggle with the crutches, he got the idea of developing crutches that were inspired by the design of a prosthetic leg.
Started developing Flexmo crutch in 2017, got grant from IIT-D
In 2017, Srinivas along with Arvind Suresh Ambalapuzha, whom he met at IIT-D's Mechatronics Lab, founded Flexmotiv, a start-up which is a part of the institute's incubation center.
Together, they started developing Flexmo crutch for which IIT-D also provided them seed grant to initiate their proof of concept.
With Rs. 1.5 lakh in their pocket, they bought a 3D printer to make a prototype.
Flexmo draws inspiration from the human foot, says Arvind
Arvind said, "Flexmo draws inspiration from the human foot. When taking a step, the heel part grips the surface and absorbs the shock."
The 28-year-old co-founder further added, "The toe part gives you extra grip while you are in the air and gives you a soft landing. This heel-toe combination gives rise to ultra-stability and zero-slippage for a user."
AIIMS, Delhi joined hands to develop the product further
Once the prototype was presented to All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, Flexmo garnered praises from doctors. AIIMS even joined hands to develop the product further.
However, it wasn't easy to find people to try the crutches as people are often skeptical about using something new.
However, a cancer patient, whose leg was amputated, agreed to test the product and was extremely satisfied.
Flexmo works on all terrains, tested by 120 people
Flexmo crutches can be used on all kinds of terrains from snow to wet surfaces. According to 25-year-old Srinivas, the design of the product ensures that the user doesn't slip or fall on any kind of surface. Till now, 120 patients have tested the product.
Expected to be launched for retail sale in December
Along with completing its first level of the clinical trial, Flexmo crutch is now in the final stages of development and is expected to be launched for retail sale in December.
Meanwhile, Srinivas and Arvind found another co-founder, 23-year-old IIT-D alumnus Girish Yadav, in 2018 through a professor.
The company today has an eight-member team including tech/content interns and marketing personnel.
Flexmo crutches priced at Rs. 2,999; subsidized price for NGOs
While a pair of regular crutches is priced at Rs. 1,200 to Rs. 1,400, Flexmo will be launched in the market at a retail price of Rs. 2,999.
However, the Flexmo crutches will be provided to NGOs at a subsidized price.
Meanwhile, the company is expecting revenue flow immediately after its launch.
Notably, several CSR companies are also willing to fund the project.
Professors suggested co-founders to convert company to for-profit from non-profit
Initially, the company was supposed to be a non-profit company. However, the idea was dropped after IIT-D professors suggested otherwise.
While talking to YourStory, Arvind said, "Our professors told us that if you want to help people, pass on the product at subsidized rates to NGOs, and as far as the retail market is concerned, people can and will pay."