Hyderabad: Indian Institute of Technology Madras announced that it (IIT-M) has developed India's first indigenous motorized wheelchair vehicle that can be used not only on roads but even on uneven terrains.

Called 'NeoBolt', the vehicle has a maximum speed of 25 kmph and travels up to 25 km per charge. It empowers wheelchair users with a convenient, safe and low-cost mode of outdoor mobility when compared to cars, auto rickshaws or modified scooters. NeoBolt is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery that will give 25 km for every charge.

Throughout the development process, the IIT-M researchers collaborated extensively with organizations and hospitals working with people with locomotor disability and built the products factoring in their experiences and making constant design adjustments.

NeoBolt was developed by a team led by Prof. Sujatha Srinivasan, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras, and has been commercialized through a startup called 'NeoMotion'. The startup has been co-founded by Prof. Sujatha Srinivasan and an IIT Madras alumnus Swostik Sourav Dash, who is the CEO of NeoMotion.

Prof. Sujatha Srinivasan also led the team that developed India's first indigenously-designed standing wheelchair called 'Arise,' which enables a wheelchair user to shift from sitting to standing position.

Highlighting the vision behind developing these products, Prof. Sujatha Srinivasan, who is also the faculty head, TTK Centre for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2), IIT Madras, said, "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."

Her start-up has also developed and commercially launched 'NeoFly,' a personalized wheelchair designed to enhance health and lifestyle. As much as 18 customizations ensure a perfect fit to the user's requirements.

Swostik Sourav Dash, co-founder and CEO of NeoMotion, said, "NeoFly and NeoBolt are presently being used by over 600 users across 28 states in India. The feedback has been positive. The demo units are available in 15 dealer outlets and four rehabilitation centres in major cities. With our unique NeoFit system, the entire customization is done remotely, so that a well-fitting NeoFly lands at the user's doorstep."

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