Hyderabad: Indian Institute of Technology Madras has launched India’s first standing wheelchair. The indigenously designed wheelchair, called Arise, will enable the differently abled people, who require a wheelchair, to shift between sitting and standing, independently and in a controlled manner.

Headed by Prof Sujatha Srinivasan in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras, the standing wheelchair was designed and developed by the TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at IIT Madras.

Highlighting the work being done by R2D2, Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “The centre, created with a generous endowment from our distinguished alumnus TT 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 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 importance of this launch, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, “In the last five years, I have seen many modern technologies in India and abroad. However, I have not seen such a good standing wheelchair anywhere in the world. I am delighted and impressed. I congratulate IIT Madras and its partners for coming up with such nice equipment, which is multipurpose and beneficial for health, besides being cost-effective.”

Minimize problems due to prolonged sitting

After being in a seated position for long durations, users of conventional wheelchairs face a host of difficulties, which can lead to secondary health problems such as poor blood circulation and pressure sores. However, since most users require considerable effort and assistance to attain a standing position, they do not stand as frequently as they wish to.

According to IIT Madras, the standing wheelchair helps reduce problems due to prolonged sitting. Users can independently use standing wheelchairs. It can be hugely beneficial to the health, self-esteem, and sense of well-being of users as they can arise from their seated position to a standing position and vice versa using their arms.

Arise was tested by more than 50 people with spinal injuries. Their feedback was positive, and they pointed out that Arise allowed them to interact with people at eye level.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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