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Revolutionising Accessibility for Wheelchair Users in India

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In a landmark display of indigenous innovation, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) unveiled its latest breakthrough: the NeoStand Electric Standing Wheelchair. This cutting-edge mobility solution promises to redefine accessibility for wheelchair users across India.

Image credits: IIT Madras

With its emphasis on user empowerment and well-being enabled by technology, NeoStand stands poised to usher in a new era of accessibility, where every individual, regardless of ability, can realise their full potential.

Led by Professor Sujatha Srinivasan, Head of the TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at IIT Madras, the development of NeoStand represents a significant milestone in the quest for inclusive technology.

At the heart of NeoStand lies a commitment to user-centric design and functionality. Unlike conventional wheelchairs, NeoStand features a motorised standing mechanism that allows users to effortlessly transition between sitting and standing positions with the push of a button. This innovative feature opens up a world of possibilities for individuals with mobility impairments, enabling them to engage in face-to-face interactions, access higher shelves, and experience the physical and psychological benefits of standing.

The launch event illuminated the profound societal impact of NeoStand, showcasing its potential to redefine accessibility and inclusivity for individuals with mobility impairments. By bridging the gap between innovation and social responsibility, NeoStand symbolises a transformative shift towards a more equitable and empowering future

“These translational research endeavours underscore our commitment to fostering social impact through innovative solutions,” remarked Professor Kamakoti. “Indeed, NeoStand represents more than just a mobility aid; it symbolises a paradigm shift in how we perceive and address the needs of individuals with disabilities.”

One of the key drivers behind NeoStand’s development is its emphasis on promoting user independence and well-being. For many wheelchair users, the ability to stand remains an elusive goal, often hampered by physical limitations and reliance on external assistance. NeoStand seeks to address these challenges head-on, offering users the freedom to stand comfortably whenever needed. This not only enhances their physical health by improving blood circulation and digestion but also fosters a sense of empowerment and autonomy.

The journey from concept to reality has been made possible through a collaborative effort involving various stakeholders. Sponsored by a company as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative and developed in partnership with NeoMotion, an IIT Madras-incubated startup, NeoStand exemplifies the transformative potential of public-private collaboration.

“The launch of a new product this evening for the differently abled signifies a turning point in our endeavour to foster inclusiveness and empowerment,” remarked Mr. Sudhakar Rao, IAS (Rtd), Member of the Board of Directors at the company.

Professor Srinivasan, the driving force behind NeoStand’s development, highlighted the device’s therapeutic benefits and ease of use. “Integrating standing functionality into a wheelchair provides health benefits as well as functional and psychological benefits to the user,” she explained.

Testimonials from users like Mr. Justin Jesudas, a quadriplegic individual, further attest to the life-changing impact of NeoStand who noted that, “The ability to stand with just a push of a button makes the wheelchair even more inclusive, helping quadriplegics to stand independently.”

Looking ahead, NeoStand stands out for individuals with mobility impairments, promising a future where accessibility knows no bounds. As India continues to embrace innovation and inclusivity, initiatives like NeoStand serve as a testament to the transformative power of technology in shaping a more equitable society.

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