‘Meet Hoverchair, Our Hoverboard-Inspired Wheelchair For Elderly’
We thought why not use a Hoverboard – which we consider a toy – for a completely different purpose?
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Video Producer: Aastha Gulati
According to recent estimates of Union Labour Ministry’s National Sample Survey, there are 16 million people with locomotor disabilities in India. Of this, a significant number are elderly and wheelchair-dependent.
As part of our school’s (Shiv Nadar School, Gurugram) philanthropic initiative, we decided to do our bit to make the lives of physically-challenged seniors easier. Each year, the students of Class 10 are provided with a platform called 'Capstone' to give back to society using their technological and creative skills. Capstone is the platform which has helped us bring our vision – the Hoverchair – to life.
When we look at elderly or differently-abled people, who can't move around by themselves and moving around in manual wheelchairs tires them, it really hurts.
Nights of brainstorming and research bore no fruit. We were not being able to come up with a cheaper solution for an electric wheelchair. Suddenly, an idea struck us. We thought why not use a Hoverboard, which we consider a toy, for a completely different purpose? The five of us – Tanya, Krsna, Arshia, Jasmehar, and Prithvi – finally made progress.
We introduced Hoverchair – an innovative wheelchair that can be used to easily manoeuvre oneself. It also incorporates novel features like speed-regulation and music.
Not only this, we feel that the custom build and cost-effectiveness of the Hoverchair can make it a truly important contribution to senior citizens and those with locomotor disabilities.
“Electrical wheelchairs are not very easy to fold or carry around. Our wheelchair can be folded as our seat is foldable and the Hoverboard comes off. So, it can be folded and put at the back of a car and it is very easy to travel with.”Prithvi Ramamurthy
We also made several tweaks to the design for ease of access.
“When we use the Hoverboard, to operate it, we need two basic things which is weight, and something to tilt. So, the weight was there when we sat on it and to tilt it, we attached some long sticks to the Hoverboard which helped it to move forwards, backwards and turn it left and right.”Jasmehar Singh
What Do Users Think?
We had several elders and differently-abled persons try the Hoverchair for their views and suggestions. Luckily, the response has been positive and we are hopeful for it to become a commercial project.
“This is powered by batteries and motors and you can move around with it very simply. As compared to a manual wheelchair, it is a thousand times better.”Harsh, Co-Founder, Earth Saviours Foundation
Nipun Malhotra, founder of Nipman Foundation, concurs.
“I can’t believe it was made with Rs 25,000. That is the most affordable automatic wheelchair that I have seen. Good looking, foldable, not extremely heavy... If we give some more time to it, I think it can become a commercial product.”
(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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