CHENNAI: A new affordable ‘standing wheelchair’ that enables persons with disabilities to shift between standing and sitting positions independently, has been indigenously designed by IIT-Madras in collaboration with Phoenix Medical Systems (PMS).
Called ‘Arise,’ the standing wheelchair costs Rs 15,000, V Sashi Kumar, MD, PMS, told Express. Arise comes in four sizes: small, medium, large and extra-large and can be customised to suit users’ body type by making simple adjustments, he said. The wheelchair was launched in the presence of Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, researchers, students, staff and faculty of IIT-M besides other stakeholders.
“In the last five years, I have seen a lot of modern technologies, but have not seen such a good standing wheelchair anywhere. I am very happy and impressed and I congratulate IIT-M and its partners for coming up with the wheelchair, which is multipurpose besides being cost-effective,” said Gehlot.
It was designed and developed by TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at IIT-M, headed by Sujatha Srinivasan of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Users of conventional wheelchairs face a host of difficulties. Being seated for long periods can lead to secondary health problems. Now, the users can, by themselves, use standing wheelchairs to arise from the seated position. They will not have mobility in the standing position.
“The feature was not added as we kept safety as a priority. If a user tried to stand and move on a slope, it may lead to instability,” said Sujatha Srinivasan, adding Arise can be most efficiently used by people with spinal cord injuries.