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Paraplegic invents a system to operate her wheelchair using an electric “scooter”

Charlotte became quadriplegic after suffering from leukemia and negative complications from treatment, and after regaining her arm movement, she had been in a wheelchair since the age of four, but that did not prevent her from developing a low-cost wheelchair by using an electric scooter.

“My parents were sure that I would have a normal life, and today I drive, work, have an apartment, and enjoy an independent life,” Charlotte says.

In her report, published in the French newspaper “Le Figaro”, writer Caroline de Mallet said that after Charlotte joined the College of Business Administration and worked at Airbus for 3 years, she met 4 young people training in innovation, after their specialization in engineering, and they are working to find A solution to improve the lives of disabled people.

The birth of the idea

After spending 4 years at Airbus and while devoting a lot of time to her project, 29-year-old Charlotte decided to create Omni in 2018 with 4 other partners, namely Director Noi Fino Can, Roman Lum, Sylvain Richard and Matthew Zoot.

“Rides on public transport in a wheelchair take twice as long as regular trips, as it is difficult to get to the Paris subway given the changes and obstacles that sometimes come to us, such as stones or ramps,” Charlotte says.

The wheelchair is also very expensive, as the price of a simple manual wheelchair is 5 thousand euros, and the Social Security Fund pays only 600 euros of the total expenses.

A wheelchair for people with special needs is expensive, as a simple manual wheelchair costs 5 thousand euros (social networking sites)

Two years to develop a low-cost operating system

After studying several ideas, the team found that the best they could do was a tool or operating system that could attach an electric bike to a wheelchair.

“Most of the current motor systems are designed exclusively for two seats, which explains their high price,” Charlotte explained. “On the other hand, marketing for a product targeted to the general public provides two advantages: low cost thanks to higher sales, and a change in public perception of disability through the use of an electric bike.”

“We thought it would only take 6 months to develop this system, but contrary to our expectations it took two years and a hundred hours of testing, because we wanted a comprehensive solution that fits all bikes and all types of chairs. In general, the Globe Trotter system consists of 3 parts,” she added. The bike part, the wheelchair part, and a removable attachment tool.

Once the prototype was created, the group launched 20 units as part of its beta phase. The team has taken advantage of the shutdown to create their own distribution network. The Globe Trotter’s popularity has increased since the beginning of the health crisis related to the Coronavirus epidemic. This innovation won many competitions, and received many grants worth 500,000 euros from the Public Investment Bank and many other institutions.

Reach the goal in 3 days

Charlotte stated, “In just 3 days, we achieved our target of 15,000 euros, knowing that the price of the Globe Trotter is 590 euros, with the purchase of the electric bike up to 1,200 euros, and thus it is 4 times cheaper compared to the offers available today.”

Revenue and grants for Omni are helping to fund a study to develop its manufacturing processes, as well as a manufacturing mold, and it has contracted with several companies in northern France. If your marketing campaigns target the general public, you can work with manufacturers and self-service bike operators.

75 thousand entrepreneurs with disabilities

Charlotte was honored on the evening of Thursday, December 17th, with the title of creator by an organization that supports entrepreneurs with special needs.

The awards were presented under the patronage of French President Emmanuel Macron, Olivia Gregoire, responsible for the social and solidarity economy, and Sophie Closel, the Secretary of State in charge of the disabled in France.

All in all, the App Entrepreneur Foundation encourages 75,000 entrepreneurs with a disability.

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