Standing Robotic Wheelchair Gets FDA Approval

Startup UPnRIDE will improve the quality of life for millions of people with disabilities.

Dec 2, 2019

(Courtesy UPnRIDE Robotics web site)

Most people are used to seeing the world at eye level. Expressions like see eye to eye are talking about people who are standing. Plus people are used to maneuvering the world in an upright position.

Now, millions of people with disabilities who use a wheelchair to get around can also stand tall thanks to UPnRIDE Robotics, an Israeli startup whose standing wheelchair was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in September 2019. The FDA approval means that the company can now market the device in the US.

The company said that this new type of wheelchair is the world's first smart and robotic mobility device that allows movement in both a standing and sitting position. Calling it a life changing solution to the sedentary lifestyle of wheelchair users. Only being able to sit causes lifestyle disruptions, health deterioration, and higher medical costs for the wheelchair user and their families.

The standing robotic wheelchair can be used indoors and outdoors and can be used by most wheelchair users including people who are paraplegics, quadriplegics, elderly or people who have suffered strokes.

“The approval of our UPnRIDE standing wheelchair is another very important milestone for UPnRIDE Robotics Ltd. in our mission to offer health benefits and improved quality of life to millions of people suffering from walking impairments,” Dr. Amit Goffer, the founder, and president of the company told No Camels.

Goffer, a quadriplegic from an automobile acceded founded the company that is based in Yokneam Illit, Israel in 2013 developed the device to help other people in similar situations.

“I have had a long-standing vision that all people confined to a wheelchair should have access to enhanced mobility and enjoy the many health benefits associated with the ability to get by in a standing position. With the introduction of UPnRIDE, this dream is becoming a reality,” said Goffer.

Goffer also previously founded ReWalk Robotics, an FDA approved wearable robotic exoskeleton that allows wearers with spinal cord injuries to stand and walk upright.

“Empowered by the FDA approval, UPnRIDE Robotics Ltd. will now develop a distribution and service centers network in the USA to enable US users to benefit from this innovative product,” said Oren Tamari, CEO of the company.

Other companies also make standing wheelchairs even if they are not robotic. The Swiss company Levo features a wheelchair that elevates to a standing position. Karman Healthcare in California has several models that are controlled by a joystick for people who are paraplegics.

Innovations like these will give people with disabilities much more mobility and many more options. It will greatly enhance the quality of life for millions of people.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.