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After three years of research, special wheelchair goes into mass production

LFW is the result of three years of collaboration between US-based NGO GRIT and Pinnacle group.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune | Published: September 10, 2015 3:56:38 am

Mobility for persons with disabilities (PwD) has always been a question, especially in the Indian context where access to wheelchairs is always a problem.

Now, Pinnacle Industries have started to bulk manufacture leveraged freedom wheelchair (LFW), which they say is not only more efficient but costs less than the normal wheelchair.

LFW is the result of three years of collaboration between US-based NGO GRIT and Pinnacle group. The seed of LFC had come from Amos Winter, a professor with the department of Mechanical Engineering at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Sudhir Mehta, managing director of Pinnacle group, said that the company was interested in this due to its association with the Jaipur Foot project, which involves providing artificial limbs to the amputees.

One of the major issues facing conventional wheelchairs is their inability to cover rough terrain or the problems in maneuvering in narrow lanes. In low income groups like slums, this becomes more of a serious problem, which often leads to PwDs being forced to remain indoors, seriously limiting their mobility. “Our challenge was to come up with a low cost yet sturdy wheelchair, which the PwDs would be able to operate themselves,” he said.

LFW, Mehta said, allows more mobility to PwDs than the traditional wheelchair and is more sturdier. The team had experimented with standard bicycle parts and modified the parts as and when required.

“Incorporating bicycle parts made the LFW cheap, light and easy to repair, especially in remote rural areas,” he said. LFW has two levers which allows users to change speed and mover over various kinds of terrain.

This year, Pinnacle will be manufacturing 6,000 LFWs at Pithampur. “GRIT has established distribution in India and abroad for marketing the LFW to relevant NGOs, foundations and other sponsors,” he said.

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