A “standing wheelchair” (above) called Arise, developed at the TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, was formally launched on Tuesday, November 5.

The standing wheelchair, while expanding the range of movement for disabled individuals, serves the important purpose of minimising health risks for wheelchair-ridden patients. The health risks associated with extended periods of sitting (and not just for wheelchair users) include cancer, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

The launch was webcast live on R2D2’s website, and featured testing and detailing of the invention. According to reports, the wheelchair was designed in collaboration with Phoenix Medical Systems and will cost around Rs 15,000.

Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, was also present at the launch, and stated that the wheelchairs can be provided to the needy through government, constituency development funds of lawmakers and corporate social responsibility funds.