Published: 23rd August 2021
Indian Institute of Technology Madras develops India's first motorised wheelchair vehicle
The wheelchair was built factoring in the experiences of people living with disabilities and making constant design adjustments
Earlier this month, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras announced the development of India's first indigenous motorised wheelchair vehicle that can be used not only on roads but also on uneven terrains.
The wheelchair named as 'NeoBolt' has a maximum speed of 25 kmph and is powered by a lithium-ion battery that helps 25 km for every charge, the institute said in a statement.
NeoBolt was developed by IIT-M Researchers in consultations with organisations and hospitals working among people with locomotor disabilities. The wheelchair was built factoring in their experiences and making constant design adjustments.
"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," said Sujatha Srinivasan, Faculty Head, TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2), IIT Madras, in the statement. NeoBolt has been commercialised through a startup called 'NeoMotion', co-founded by Srinivasan and an IIT Madras Alumnus Swostik Sourav Dash.
The startup has also developed and commercially launched 'NeoFly,' a personalised wheelchair designed to enhance health and lifestyle. As many as 18 customisations ensure a perfect fit to the user's requirements. 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 personalised wheelchair is available at Rs 39,900 and NeoBolt motorised add-on is available at Rs 55,000. We offer convenient EMI options. Users can pre-book their orders with us for just Rs 1,000 by registering on our website," said Dash, who is also the CEO of NeoMotion. Both NeoFly and NeoBolt are presently being used by over 600 users across 28 states in India. The feedback has been positive, he added.