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#InclusionChamps: Nekram Upadhyay’s May Ability Kit wins him national disability award for 2019

In our profiles of the winners of the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards, we feature Nekram Upadhay who has developed an assistive device that helps people with spinal cord injuries perform a range of activities.

Over one million people in India live with spinal cord injuries (SCI), with approximately 20,000 new cases added every year, most of them poor villagers and people falling in the productive age bracket of 16-30 years.

His extensive interaction with people with such injuries that set Nekram Upadhyay, who heads the Department of Assistive Technology, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre in New Delhi thinking. His aim was to develop a device that would enable people with SCI to perform a range of activities.

The device he innovated, May Ability Kit (MAY) has won him the NCPEDP Mphasis Universal Design Award 2019 in the Persons with Disabilities Awards category.

Winning the national disability award is a great recognition and would motivate any professional. When we worked with patients, we saw their problems and that led us to work on this. The idea was to find modular means that are low technology that can enable them to do basic tasks. There are many solutions that use robotics and look great but they are either unaffordable or lack practical application. - Nekram Upadhyay, Winner, Universal Design Award 2019

Nekram was clear that he wanted a device that was affordable for a a wide range of users. MAK is a wearable assistive device for the hand and comes with multiple attachments for various activities like a spoon holder, pen holder, mug holder, brush holder, typing pointer, etc The material used is low temperature thermoplastic and Velcro. The low-tech property makes it cost effective and easy to use.

Shivjeet Singh Raghav, who lives in delhi, has been using it for two years now. "I am a quadriplegic and use a wheelchair. My hands are affected and my fingers have barely any grip. With MAK I can write, bush my teeth, eat on my own, etc. Things have become so easy now and I am totally independent for things that I used to depend on others for like drinking tea, brushing my teeth etc. Life has totally changed".

Nekram is now working on making it available in the market and is looking for partners.


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