IIT Madras alum's start-up NeoMotion aims to provide customised wheelchairs to 100k differently-abled people by 2025

A total of 29 NeoBolt motorised outdoor mobility attachments and 160 NeoFly wheelchairs have been donated, amounting to a total CSR funding of Rs 75 lakh
Neobolt | Pic: IIT Madras
Neobolt | Pic: IIT Madras

IIT Madras-incubated start-up NeoMotion has managed to provide customised wheelchairs to at least 163 differently-abled persons. With an aim to impact one lakh lives per year by 2025, it was three independent CSR projects that helped NeoMotion achieve this milestone. A total of 29 NeoBolt motorised outdoor mobility attachments and 160 NeoFly wheelchairs have been donated, amounting to a total CSR funding of Rs 75 lakh.

Moreover, the founder and CEO of NeoMotion, Swostik Sourav Dash said, "We are working on a project — Livelihood on Wheels — where NeoBolt can be a tool to get employment. People can use it to deliver newspapers, milk, food items and other last-mile delivery jobs. This will help them earn a livelihood." But that's not all. "The project model incorporates a percentage of the salary earned to be deposited in a corpus to fund the next set of NeoBolts for the next set of beneficiaries. We are partnering with CSR bodies, NGOs in the vocation training space and potential employers who can employ people with locomotive disability and promote diversity and inclusion in the process," he added.

So what do these wheelchairs look like? By developing India's first indigenous motorised wheelchair attachment NeoBolt, NeoMotion managed to disrupt the space. Then it launched a personalised wheelchair called NeoFly that aims to enhance the health and lifestyle of the differently-abled. In the next 12 months, NeoMotion plans to impact 1,000 lives with its customised wheelchairs and this is being done with the help of CSR initiatives. An amount of Rs 10 crore will be invested in the project.

Important parameters such as user seating comfort, postural factors, compactness are ignored and oversized one-size-fits-all wheelchairs are provided to all beneficiaries. As a result, even though thousands of wheelchairs are provided to as many beneficiaries, the number of lives positively impacted is much lower. To solve this issue, these CSR projects have taken a different approach by identifying and assessing the beneficiaries first before providing the wheelchairs. Beneficiaries are selected on the basis of their socio-economic status, needs, diagnosis and age among other criteria. Moreover, the NeoBolt being a battery-powered clip-on device for the wheelchair is easier and convenient to use than the traditional donated hand-powered Tri-cycles. It allows users to travel farther and quicker.

And how are these checked? The user measurements and medical assessments are conducted remotely via video call with every wheelchair customised according to the beneficiary’s measurements and medical assessment. This is necessary since the wheelchair is like a part of the body and unless personalized according to the user, it could lead to several side effects such as back pain and shoulder pain.

Sharing the current status of this project, Dash said, “The beneficiaries find NeoFly and NeoBolt as a complete indoor and outdoor solution. They are finding themselves being more productive, with respect to daily activities like going to the market, commuting for their jobs and working long hours sitting on the wheelchair, which they could not achieve with the conventional ones.”

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