Pakistan has some big news – the country’s first locally-developed smart wheelchair will be launched this month. The newly developed GOBEE wheelchair is expected to help the struggling local wheelchair industry. And more importantly, it will help people with disabilities.
The smartphone-operated GOBEE smart wheelchair was developed by Faaiz Arbab, an engineering student from the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). The Pakistani student has been working on the idea since 2015 as a term project for his engineering degree. Unfortunately, he was unable to complete his smart wheelchair project in time. But he kept on working until he completed the project in 2016.
In 2017, he decided to pitch his smart wheelchair idea to LUM’s National Incubation Center, the country's premier tech incubation center. At first, Arbab didn’t really believe that his smart wheelchair idea would be recognized by the National Incubation Center (NIC).
Fortunately, the NIC has quickly identified the wheelchair’s market potential. As a result, the NIC has selected the smart wheelchair project for its incubation program. The new smart wheelchair also won the Best Consumer Product Design Award at the recent 2018 Pakistan National Design Awards.
The new wheelchair is expected to help the struggling local wheelchair industry, which is currently dominated by foreign suppliers. Some of the tech features include the innovative voice command capability and anti-sweat technology. It also supports Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity.
In addition, Arbab has teamed up with Dr. Zahara Gul, a medical specialist at the Mayo Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan. The two have joined forces and founded a new company called Ayub Yaqoob Engineering (AYECo).
The newly created company plans to market the new wheelchair at an affordable price. The company also announced plans to export the smart wheelchair to other countries after it met requirements with the United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO).
The new GOBEE wheelchair is slated to go on sale on June 7.
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