India’s First Standing Wheelchair
‘Arise' is ready for commercialization with the help of Wellcome (a UK-based foundation) and a patented unique mass-manufacturable mechanical design, thanks to a collaboration with Phoenix Medical Systems.IIT Madras, in partnership with Phoenix Medical Systems, introduces India's first indigenously-designed 'Standing Wheelchair,' which allows a wheelchair-bound person to transition from a sitting to a standing posture, and vice versa, independently and safely.
The Standing Wheelchair was recently unveiled at IIT Madras Research Park in the presence of Thaawarchand Gehlot, India's Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, as well as IIT Madras researchers, students, staff, and faculty, as well as other project stakeholders.
Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India Said, “In the last five years, I have seen a lot of modern technologies in India and abroad but Have not seen such a good standing wheelchair anywhere in the world. I am very happy and impressed and I congratulate IIT Madras and its partners for coming up with such a nice wheelchair, which is multipurpose and beneficial for health also, besides being cost-effective.”
“I am really impressed by the kind of work done by the R2D2 Centre of IIT Madras and look forward to cooperating with them in the future. I am sure IIT Madras and its partners that we will try to provide standing wheelchairs to the needy through the Ministry, MLA Constituency Development and CSR Funds. It will bring health benefits as well as confidence to the users,” he added.
The TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at IIT Madras, headed by Sujatha Srinivasan in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, invented and developed the Standing Wheelchair, dubbed "Arise." R2D2 has been active in research linked to human movement, the influence of orthotic and prosthetic devices on human mobility, and the design and development of mechanisms, goods, and assistive devices for individuals with impairments since 2015, thanks to TTK Prestige's CSR support.
Highlighting the work being done by R2D2, Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “The TTK Centre for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development, created with a generous endowment from our Distinguished Alumnus Mr. T. T Jagannathan, has become the research and innovation hub for several affordable assistive technologies, which would otherwise never have been worked upon and delivered. The standing wheelchair ‘Arise’ is one such sterling example. The Centre and Phoenix Medical Systems are to be congratulated for their persistent efforts to make the device user-friendly and affordable.”
Speaking about the benefits of this project, Philip Jordan, Partner, Wellcome Innovations Team, said, “We are delighted to have been able to support this new, affordable and accessible innovation, which will be crucial to improving the lives of wheelchair users across India. The standing wheelchairs can help reduce the health problems associated with sitting wheelchairs. They can also empower users to be more independent in daily life, opening more opportunities and improving mental health.”
Speaking of the safety features in ‘Arise’, Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Phoenix Medical Systems, said, ‘'Phoenix, being a pioneer in medical devices sector, has been keenly interested in the safety of Arise. One safety feature of Arise is the interlocking mechanism, which ensures that the wheelchair remains in a locked state if the knee block is not in position. The dimensions of Arise were made adjustable and adequate safety features were incorporated.”
Highlighting the future goals of ‘Arise’ and R2D2, Sujatha Srinivasan, Founder and Head of R2D2, said, “We have learned a lot during our Arise development journey – the importance of flexible funding focused on impact, the need for a like-minded industry partner and the merit in involving users and the rehabilitation community in the development. We are applying these learnings to our other projects. A one-time custom-fitting of Arise is necessary to provide maximum benefit to the user. To maximize impact of our devices, R2D2 will work to create awareness about their suitability, availability, and necessary fitting and training.
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