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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Know how this startup is empowering wheelchair users to freely move around

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Chennai-based startup NeoMotion is helping the differently-abled  move around freely. The company is enabling people who move on wheelchairs to stay healthy, explore life, and even get employed.

How frequently do we encounter a wheelchair user at a park, a shopping mall, or a theater? Wheelchair users are frequently limited to four walls. And many of them have missed out on chances because of the one-size-fits-all mentality about assistive technologies. NeoMotion’s products are altering this narrative.

Prosus SICA, which was launched in 2020 in collaboration with Invest India, Social Alpha, and the World Health Organization, finds and honors the most creative Indian entrepreneurs focusing on assistive technology solutions.

The competition has supported several incredible Assistive Technology ideas that have the potential to revolutionize the field. And NeoMotion is now one of them.

The team at NeoMotion began performing user testing as part of another product in the assistive devices area called’standing ovation.’

During encounters with over 200 wheelchair users in 40 sites across India, they attempted to comprehend the socioeconomic obstacles that individuals confront.

Swostik Sourav Dash, co-founder and CEO of NeoMotion, said, “What are the company’s current products? What are their mobility issues? Users are restricted to their homes. That’s when we came up with NeoMotion and the items we’re now developing.”

The organization, which consists of a staff of 15 employees, began full-time operations in 2018. The first several years were spent on design creation, R&D, user trials, and refining the product to determine if there was a genuine demand. Setting up manufacturing took nearly a year.

Sujatha Srinivasan, Co-founder, NeoMotion, says,  “We came across several tales and situations of the biggest motivator of why we started the products that we’re producing. One of them is a user who received a job offer from an Indian public sector bank. Every day, he would have to travel 5-6 kilometers to and from the bank. So there is a possibility for folks to go out and get work. People, however, are unable to work because of the high costs connected with travel.”

Swostik discusses the entire freedom that Prosus SICA provides in terms of finance and how the program has assisted NeoMotion in filling important gaps in product innovation.

One NeoMotion product user had been bedridden for 15 years before being able to use a smartphone and Google solutions for independent living. The founders believe that without economic freedom, all else follows.

To purchase a mobility product, one must be mobile.  NeoMotion’s objective has always been to create something that would allow people to go out to the office, the market, or even simply for fun.

The NeoMotion team is assisting users in establishing deep roots in the community while working by providing a radius of mobility of roughly 10-15 kilometers. The product development cycle of the organization is focused on lowering the barriers in day-to-day activities.

This makes the gadget suitable for usage in sandy or gravel terrains, on potholed roads, and even when it rains.

According to Vivek Sarda, Co-Founder of NeoMotion, there are solutions for both indoor and outdoor mobility.

He says, “In India, 95 percent of all wheelchairs sold are one-size-fits-all when it comes to interior mobility. Outdoor mobility includes items such as adapted scooters, auto rickshaws, and chores. We wanted to solve these indoor and outdoor mobility difficulties and give a full solution.”

NeoFly is a customised, small wheelchair that features roughly 18 customisations based on the user’s body dimensions, their health state, and the terrain surroundings.

Although the user does not required to transfer from the wheelchair to another vehicle, they may connect a NeoBolt (an add-on) to the wheelchair and step out on their own whenever they choose. It is powered by a lithium-ion battery, can travel up to 30 kilometers on a single charge, and can be recharged in four hours. NeoBolt has been designed to withstand rough terrains and Indian highways by including all safety elements found in an automobile two-wheeler, such as rear light indicators to guarantee that it is safe to drive on roads and better back support.

Furthermore, because it is driven by hand, NeoFly is incredibly efficient at propelling and can travel three to five times the distance of traditional reach.

The user saves a lot of energy, and toppling and wheeling a wheelchair becomes exciting and pleasant rather than a laborious process.

The independence that NeoMotion provides by just allowing individuals to be mobility is nothing short of miraculous.

Swostik demonstrates that user body language has altered noticeably.

He continues, “They are pleased with themselves. Their outlook on life is also extremely different. And, with NeoBolt, users can be certain that if they want to go out, they won’t have to phone or ask for aid.”

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