Society

An in-house force charting an affordable way

The 24-year-old is planning to make a venture out of a low-cost electric mobility scooter, a design improvised from existing models by his father. Photo: M. Moorthy

The 24-year-old is planning to make a venture out of a low-cost electric mobility scooter, a design improvised from existing models by his father. Photo: M. Moorthy   | Photo Credit: M_Moorthy

As soon as Naidhroven A. sees a visitor approaching his house, from his first floor balcony, he quickly descends in a customised lift.

The 24-year-old and his father, R. Aravamudan (60), who were diagnosed with congenital muscular dystrophy, are working at making mobility devices affordable.

A battery-operated electric mobility scooter that Naidhroven uses to move around the house was put together by his father. While Mr. Aravamudan has built the prototype scooter, Naidhroven is soon planning to make them available commercially, at low cost.

When Mr. Aravamudan could no longer walk after a fall, he decided to build a scooter at home instead of buying an expensive one for himself. “My dad could not walk after 2010 and wanted a scooter that was tailor-made. I had a fall in 2012,” said Naidhroven, who has completed his MBA.

Mr. Aravamudan who runs an electrocardiogram machine-making business unit from home said he was able to cut costs by using locally-sourced materials. “Videos on YouTube were of great help when I was starting,” he said, adding that his background in electronics engineering and an interest in automobiles and mechanics helped to a great extent.

Naidhroven said they spent between Rs. 8,000-10,000 to build the basic prototype that they use. “The imported models were quite expensive; so, my father started making the scooters to fulfil our needs. We then thought that we could help others as well,” he said, adding that the designs themselves are not new, and were improvised from existing ones. “We outsourced processes that required certain expensive machines, and assembled it at home,” he said.

Naidhroven is raising funds for the commercial venture through a bank loan as well as through Indiegogo, a crowd-funding platform. “I want to develop a low-cost scooter that can be controlled using a mobile application and also low-cost wheelchairs that can be used to climb stairs,” Naidhroven said.

He uses two variants of the scooter, modified for indoor and outdoor use.

Radha Aravamudan, Naidhroven’s mother, said they have not bought mass-marketed assistive devices, and have instead tried to make similar ones at home for themselves in order to be independent.

Naidhroven can be reached at naidhro@gmail.com. 

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 2:54:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-society/an-inhouse-force-charting-an-affordable-way/article6580946.ece

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