New wheelchairs less expensive

With an increase in demand for low-cost electric wheelchairs, a new single-motor-propelled wheelchair is being developed.

The venture is expected to bring down the cost of power wheelchairs by half.

The special wheelchair is being designed to be a low-cost electric-powered wheelchair keeping in mind the varied rural and urban terrains found in India.

Collaboration

It is being developed through a collaborative project between the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC) and the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at University of Pittsburgh.

The project is being jointly funded by the Indian ministry of science and technology and National Institute of Health.

“While the cost of a normal power wheelchair begins at Rs 60,000 and goes up to Rs 10,50,000, we plan to reduce the price by half through this venture,” said Nejhram Upadhyay of ISIC.

Huge need

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), around 65 million wheelchairs are required worldwide. A country like India often faces obstacles in accessing wheelchairs at an affordable price.

“Our aim is to develop a technically-suited wheelchair for the Indian environment, whether urban or rural,” said Dr H S Chhabra, medical director at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre.

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