Smart Chair is the first industrial, non-profit project dedicated to people with disabilities in Italy. Its goal is ambitious and fundamental the project has huge plans to make an intelligent wheelchair accessible to everyone. This could change the lives of at least 100,000 people. To achieve this, Equality, a non-profit organization founded by lawyer and nutrition expert Dario Dongo, will launch a crowdfunding campaign.
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Anyone can contribute to the crowdfunding campaign
To support the project, a crowdfunding campaign was launched on March 8, and donations can be made directly from the association’s website. “Contributing to the industrial development of this product of extraordinary social impact is very important,” said Dongo. “Everyone can participate, through direct donations, fully tax-deductible for companies, institutions, and professionals, 100% tax-deductible for individuals.”
An innovative wheelchair
The chair envisioned by the project will be ultra-light and strong, but above all, packed with technology. The chair is designed to absorb the stresses that users are subjected to on uneven floors and to allow them to easily raise the seat. Thanks to this, the distance that separates wheelchair-bound people from others is reduced.
“In this case, this is not a revolution, but a small new feature meant to bring greater social integration and solve a problem for those who always have to look up, and vice versa, for those who must bend over,” said Dongo. The ultimate goal is ultimately to reduce spinal trauma and to facilitate interaction. The price needs to be sustainable and capable of breaking down what is often the most difficult barrier, the economic one.
In Italy alone, there are about 1,4 million seriously disabled people under 65 years and 13 million people aged 15 and over (up to 25.5% of the age group) who suffer from functional limitations, disability, and severe chronic conditions. Among them, 3 million suffer from severe limitations, defined as encountering “the maximum degree of difficulty in at least one of the motor, sensory, or essential activities of daily living”. Among those with severe limitations, 48.9% are young people (1,467 million), and 54.7% are women (1,641 million), people for whom social inclusion is difficult.
“Thanks to the social and technical innovations the company has worked on,” explained Dongo, the chair has a unique passive suspension system that allows it to absorb shocks, and raise the seat, breaking the ‘invisible line’ for those who live in a seated position. It also has an ultra-light electric motor that can be engaged and disengaged with one hand, and is available at a price below the market average. This is made possible due to the non-profit approach to a design based on maximum simplicity of construction. Other focuses are quality and biocompatible materials. Production is entirely based in Italy, with blockchain traceability and worldwide service with a positive experience of thirty years.”
Traditional, manual wheelchairs that are currently available in Italian, European and international markets do not have shock absorbers. The electric ones, that do have them, however, are impossible to use in elevators that are smaller than the standard ones. They also cost on average more than $5,710 (€5,000) and the speeds are generally below 15 km/h. The Égalité Gran Turismo wheelchair is, therefore, the foundation for a new evolutionary step in mobility for the disabled, ensuring greater autonomy. Its electric wheel, equipped with a motor and handlebar, and accelerator and disc brake controls, can also hook onto a manual wheelchair and easily transform into an “electric tricycle”.
“Our non-profit organization – concludes Dongo – was created to highlight the inequalities that afflict contemporary society and to listen and collect first-hand news about critical situations that affect the fundamental rights of individuals and workers, in Italy, in Europe, and in the world”.
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First published in TyN, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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