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Watch | IIT-Madras develops affordable standing wheelchair

Arise, a standing wheelchair, indigenously-designed at IIT-M in collaboration with Phoenix Medical Systems, with the support of the UK-based Wellcome Trust

Arise, a standing wheelchair, indigenously-designed at IIT-M in collaboration with Phoenix Medical Systems, with the support of the UK-based Wellcome Trust   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A person using this wheelchair can shift from sitting to standing or vice versa independently, the developers say

A two-wheeler accident seven years ago made 36-year-old D. Ashok Kumar dependent on a wheel chair for mobility. “One of my biggest regrets was my inability to lift my two-year-old daughter when standing,” he said.

Thanks to a ‘standing wheelchair’ called ‘Arise’,'developed at the TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Ashok Kumar’s dream was fulfilled four months ago. “It may sound silly to others. But the happiness I had as a father that day was inexplicable,” he said.

Arise was formally launched by Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, at IIT-Madras Research Park on Tuesday.

The wheel chair, indigenously-designed at IIT-M in collaboration with Phoenix Medical Systems, with the support of the UK-based Wellcome Trust, is priced at about ₹15,000. Using Arise, a person with a disability can shift from a standing position to a sitting position and vice versa, independently or with assistance.

Watch | IIT Madras launches India's first standing wheelchair
 

Sujatha Srinivasan, Head, R2D2, IIT Madras, said that mobility in the standing position was not pursued for safety reasons, particularly while moving on slopes.

Mr. Ashok Kumar, said that being in a seated position for a long time could lead to pressure sores, conjectures and other secondary health problems. “I have to spend a lot for a physiotherapist to assist me to overcome these problems. With this wheelchair, I will not have these health problems,” he said.

V. Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Phoenix Market Systems, said that this was the first indigenously developed standing wheelchair in the country. “Standing wheelchairs are now imported at a price of around Rs. 1.5 lakh,” he said. He added that the company would look for collaborations with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment so that it can reach more beneficiaries.

Ms. Srinivasan said that Arise came with lot of customisable options for weight and other dimensions of the user. “We have taken a lot of care to ensure safety. It also looks sleek,” she said, expressing hope that the product will have a huge impact.

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Printable version | Mar 25, 2020 6:53:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/iit-madras-develops-affordable-standing-wheelchair/article29888552.ece

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