In a major development, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) has launched an affordable new 'standing wheelchair' for differently-abled people.
The assistive device, uniquely named 'Arise', enables a handicapped individual to navigate from one point to another while offering the ability to shift from a sitting to standing position.
Here's all you need to know about it.
Standing wheelchair to change position seamlessly
For any wheelchair-bound person, the biggest issue is to keep sitting all the time - a problem that often leads to back/postural troubles.
However, the new Arise wheelchair, developed as part of a collaboration between IITM and Phoenix Medical Systems, offers a nifty solution.
It allows a person to shift from sitting to standing position, and vice versa, independently and in a controlled manner.
How the device works?
In order to change position from sitting to standing, a person sitting on this wheelchair would just have to use the power of their arms. The change of position will be completely stable even if it is actuated in outdoor rural areas, uneven terrains.
Design and development of the wheelchair
IITM unveiled the wheelchair at a recent event conducted in the presence of Thaawar Chand Gehlot, the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, and several researchers, students, and faculty.
The institute added that the device's development took place at its TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development under the leadership of Professor Sujatha Srinivasan, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Plus, there are safety features too
"One safety feature of Arise is the interlocking mechanism, which ensures that the wheelchair remains in a locked state if the knee block is not in position," Sashi Kumar, Phoenix Medical Systems MD, said adding that "the dimensions of Arise are [also] adjustable."
And, it will be available at just Rs. 15,000
IITM commercialized the wheelchair with the support of Wellcome Trust UK's 'Affordable Healthcare in India' award that enabled access to research and manufacturing partners.
The institute was able to keep an affordable price tag of Rs. 15,000 per unit, thanks to the employment of a novel, mass-manufacturable mechanical design (a few patents pending), and Phoenix's manufacturing capabilities.
Needy may get access to this chair through government
At the event, Dr. Gehlot lauded the IIT Madras' effort to develop the wheelchair and added that he has "not seen such a good standing wheelchair anywhere in the world."
He then recalled PM Modi's welfare measures for differently-abled people and emphasized that the needy can get access to these wheelchairs through government, constituency development fund of lawmakers and corporate social responsibility fund.