May 3, 2024: Ganesh is a graphic artist in Kerala. He is highly proficient with IT systems and cyber technology. Unfortunately, he suffered a motorcycle accident that left his legs paralysed. He had to operate out of a wheelchair and it makes travel to work or elsewhere very difficult. That was when he came across NeoMotion, a customised wheelchair, which can be used at home and office. Ganesh’s life takes more twists and turn and using the motorised wheel chair he aces them. The Malayalam movie Jai Ganesh features it. Invented by an IIT M incubated startup, the NeoBolt attachment allows to connect the wheelchair to a motorised handle bar in less than thirty seconds.

NeoBolt wheelchair is helping more than 5000 people with disabilities to move around freely. About 300 people have been employed with Zomato as delivery partners. Several others are IT professionals, tailors and more…

Battery range for about 50km
Swostik Dash, Ashish Sharma and Siddharth Daga, the founders, recognised that locomotive disability was widespread in India. Some have it from birth and many get it due to accidents. According to WHO, as many as 1 per cent of the population in the world needs a wheelchair. This number is set to grow as the global population ages and with the increasing trend of chronic health conditions. Though wheelchairs have been widely available, there is always a need for assistance.

The founders of NeoMotion, with the help of their mentor, Dr Sujatha Srinivasan from IIT Madras, conceived this customised wheelchair. The Centre for Battery Engineering and Electric Vehicles (CBEEV) at IIT M helped in the design of the 50 km range battery and another IITMIC start-up, Cygni, manufactured them.

NeoMotion received good response at Shark Tank. The cost of the customised wheelchair and electric add-on, which enables a ride for 50 km in a single charge is about Rs 1 lakh. NeoMotion is made available through bank loans and also with the help of CSR donors such as Hyundai MOBIS, SBI Cards, Indian Oil and HDFC.

More products soon…
The company continues with its innovation to address the needs of differently abled. It has come up with NeoStand, a standing wheelchair, which allows people with mobility disability to stand and work. It is soon to launch NeoPower, a powered wheelchair version for people who do not have upper-body strength. Another version called NeoScoot will enable elderly people to become independent and drive on road.

India needs many such assistive technology ventures. The products need to be designed and customised for the Indian market. IITM Research Park in its 10X programme has taken up the development and commercialisation of such technology. The aim is in 10 years to drive innovation as well as commercialisation of such products and make India the leader in the world, in assistive technology

Publication: Industrial Economist

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