Low-cost electric wheel chair to be launched soon

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Physically challenged people may soon be able to buy easy mobility when a low-cost electric wheelchair is launched, doctors here Thursday said.

“In India, there has always been a tremendous need for an affordable and well designed electric power wheelchair to cater to the needy,” Nekram Upadhyay, head of the department, assistive technology, at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC), said in a statement.

According to ISIC, a normal powered wheelchair may cost between Rs.60,000 to Rs.10,50,000, the new low-cost electric wheelchair is said to reduce the price by half.

The Single Motor Propelled Wheelchair (SiMPl-WC) will be jointly developed by the department of assistive technology, ISIC and the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), University of Pittsburgh.

“The objective is not only to develop a low-cost electric wheelchair, but to develop one technically best suited for Indian environment, whether urban or rural,” said H.S Chhabra, chief of spine services, ISIC.

The project is funded by the department of biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Institute for Health.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 65 million wheelchairs are needed globally.

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