It's the time to move it

The second edition of the James Dyson award - held by British technology company Dyson - was won by Amit Kumar and Rituparna Guha, Master of Design students at IIT Delhi, for Samarth, a mechanism that provides an easy, safe and convenient way to shift people into and out of wheelchairs. The technology has the potential to empower wheelchair users to become more self-sufficient. About 2.68 crore people in India - 2.21 per cent of the total population - are affected by disabilities. One out of five of these people cannot move without a wheelchair.

  • Published 11.09.18
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HOT SEAT: Amit Kumar and Rituparna Guha with their creation for the wheelchair bound

The second edition of the James Dyson award - held by British technology company Dyson - was won by Amit Kumar and Rituparna Guha, Master of Design students at IIT Delhi, for Samarth, a mechanism that provides an easy, safe and convenient way to shift people into and out of wheelchairs. The technology has the potential to empower wheelchair users to become more self-sufficient. About 2.68 crore people in India - 2.21 per cent of the total population - are affected by disabilities. One out of five of these people cannot move without a wheelchair.

It was while interacting with several mobility-impaired patients at the Cheshire Home for Disability, an international organisation for people with disabilities, that Amit and Rituparna felt the need for such a medical aid. During their visits, they realised how difficult it was to shift patients to and from wheelchairs. The team identified that this was a problem haunting most Indians suffering from paraplegia.

These visits also gave Amit and Rituparna a deeper understanding of issues faced by wheelchair users such as the fear of falling, portability as well as the chances of repetitive strain injury for caregivers. And they were inspired to start looking for a solution.

Samarth helps shift wheelchair users to a bed or car, for instance, and back in an easy, safe and convenient manner. "Many sleepless nights at the design studio, repeated visits to the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Cheshire Home for Disability, rounds of wholesale markets, numerous prototypes, and lots and lots of feedback brought us to what we call Samarth. It will reduce pain and inconvenience," say Rituparna and Amit. They are now gearing up to design the innovation for large-scale manufacture.

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