The conventional wheelchair is great for mobility, but a majority of users lack control over their lower limb musculature and require considerable efforts to get to a standing position. The ability to attain and maintain a standing position is greatly beneficial to the health, self-esteem, and sense of wellbeing of a wheelchair user.
The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), in collaboration with Phoenix Medical Systems, has recently launched India’s very first, innovative standing wheelchair called “Arise.” Developed at the TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at IITM, the Arise allows wheelchair users to independently shift from sitting to standing position, and vice versa, in a controlled manner. This can be done using the power of the user’s arms.
With optimal one-time fitting, the effort required is no more than that required to propel the wheelchair. The gas-spring, adjustable to user’s weight, enables a smooth transition from sitting position to standing position, and reduces the effort expended by the user. The wheelchair offers a standing angle of 75-degree, and its longer wheelbase ensures stability in standing position. It can handle the user weight of up to 110 kg.
The dimensions of the wheelchair were made adjustable. Arise is incorporated with adequate safety features such as an interlocking mechanism, which ensures that the wheelchair remains in a locked state when the user is in a standing position. Besides, this portable, rugged assistive device can be transported in an auto, bus, or train, if necessary.
While expanding the range of movement for disabled individuals, the standing wheelchair serves the important purpose of minimizing health risks for wheelchair-ridden patients.
The prototype was tested by more than 50 people with spinal injuries. Arise was found to be stable even in outdoor use in rural areas, on uneven terrain. The Arise is priced at about ₹15,000.