IIT Madras Develops Indigenous Motorised Wheelchair Vehicle
Imports account for 2.5 lakh of the total 3 lakh wheelchairs sold in India annually; Products with comparable features are available only in the global market and are three to five times more expensive
Indian Institute of Technology Madras has developed India’s first indigenous motorized wheelchair vehicle that can be used not only on roads but even on uneven terrains.
Called ‘NeoBolt’, it has a maximum speed of 25 kmph and travels up to 25 km per charge. It empowers wheelchair users with a convenient, safe and low-cost mode of outdoor mobility when compared to cars, auto-rickshaws or modified scooters. NeoBolt is powered by a Lithium-Ion Battery that will give 25 Kms for every charge.
Throughout the development process, the IIT-M Researchers collaborated extensively with organizations and hospitals working among people with locomotor disabilities and built the products factoring in their experiences and making constant design adjustments.
Prof. Sujatha Srinivasan also led the team that developed India’s first indigenously-designed Standing Wheelchair called ‘Arise,’ which enables a wheelchair user to shift from sitting to standing position.
Highlighting the vision behind developing these products, Prof. Sujatha Srinivasan, Faculty Head, TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2), IIT Madras, said, “Our centre’s vision is to transform the disability landscape in India by creating functional and affordable assistive devices. How often do you see a wheelchair user at a school, an office, a shop or a theatre? Wheelchair users are typically restricted to the four walls of their home, which affects their community participation and their ability to contribute to the economy.”
The start-up has also developed and commercially launched ‘NeoFly,’ a personalized wheelchair designed to enhance health and lifestyle. As much as 18 customizations ensure a perfect fit to the user’s requirements.
Products with features comparable to NeoBolt are available only in the global market and are at least three to five times more expensive.
It is estimated that around three lakh wheelchairs are sold annually in India, of which 2.5 lakh are imported. Nearly 95 per cent of all wheelchairs sold in India are ‘one-size-fits-all,’ which restricts mobility, damages health, and lowers self-confidence. ‘NeoFly’ and ‘NeoBolt’ developed by the IIT Madras Team are intended at addressing these issues.
NeoFly covers three to five times more distance for every push owing to the right posture, a rigid frame and an ergonomic pushrim. A 30 per cent smaller footprint for the same seating area enhances the accessibility of narrow spaces. The design conforms to the user’s body, making the user more visible than the wheelchair. NeoCushion, a cushion with every NeoFly, is specially designed to enhance skin care, stability and ease of transfer.
NeoBolt is a motor-powered clip-on which converts NeoFly into a safe, roadworthy vehicle. It is designed to enable wheelchair users to go out into the world and explore life. It eliminates the need to transfer into other vehicles and can be independently attached by the user within seconds.
NeoFly Feature Highlights include:
- Puncture Resistant Tires, Indoor and Outdoor Options
- Ergonomic Pushrim
- Rigid Frame Design
- Adjustable Backrest Height & Angle
- Adjustable Footrest Height & Angle
- Five Size Options of Seat Width & Seat Depth
- Safety Anti-Tippers
NeoBolt Feature Highlights include:
- Quick and Easy Attachment Design (Patented)
- Safety Anti-Tippers (Patented)
- Li-Ion Battery, 25 km per charge, 4 hours recharge
- Digital Dashboard
- Headlight, Side Indicators, Horn, Mirror
- Reverse Function
- Telescopic Suspension
- Rugged Built Chassis
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