The Need for Independence
The number one obstacle that a person with a physical disability encounters in their day-to-day activities is the transfer from wheelchair to bed, sofa, car, bath or even the dentist’s chair. Wheelchair users face this challenge at least 15 to 20 times a day, for the most part with the indispensable support of a caregiver. But this transfer is a source of great psychophysical stress for those concerned, due to a constant fear of falling and stress on the joints.
Andrea has a motor impairment that means that he has to use a wheelchair: so who better to understand the needs of people in his same situation?
“In short, a person with a disability cannot move freely in and out of their wheelchair and always needs assistance from others in order to go to bed, have a bath, get on the sofa, sit at the table or move anywhere. This is a condition that is shared by hundreds of thousands of people in Italy and millions around the world, but its commonality doesn’t make it any less burdensome, even when the caregivers who help in your in daily life are your family, members of your own household.”
To solve these problems, and driven by a burning desire for independence, Andrea Depalo came up with the idea for Avanchair.
Avanchair: Solution, revolution, evolution.
Avanchair is a genuine revolution in the world of wheelchairs and an evolution of the very concept of the wheelchair. “Just like in the Marvel comics, we have invented a superpower: greater freedom,” is how Andrea Depalo defines the essence of the Avanchair project.
A unique wheelchair with patented innovation that, thanks to a side-shifting system, facilitates vertical and horizontal movements to the left and right, enabling wheelchair users to move as close as possible to surfaces, smoothly positioning the seat at the same level as the destination surface. Turn up the volume and watch Avanchair in action!
Avanchair offers the solution to satisfy wheelchair users’ need for greater daily autonomy.
The dream, however, has not yet been fully achieved. Even though the chair includes all of its essential functions, it is currently only a demonstrator model and is not yet ready for commercial production. To get there, we need your support!
What the funds raised will be used for
Less than a year ago, the technological demonstrator was created to prove that the chair can be built and that it really works. But to put the Avanchair into production, it is necessary to progress from a technological demonstrator to a definitive prototype.
The creation of such a prototype is, in fact, the reason for our crowdfunding campaign, which involves meeting two specific financial goals.
THE FIRST GOAL: 75,000 EUROS
Reaching this goal will enable us to develop a definitive prototype containing all of the technical, technological, mechanical and engineering improvements necessary to optimize all of Avanchair’s features. Beginning from its current mechanical and electronic state it will be possible to improve the chair’s structure, weight and size.
THE SECOND GOAL: 130,000 EUROS
Reaching this second goal will enable us to carry out further work on the definitive prototype, improving comfort, design and ergonomics based on indications from our expert partners in the fields of medicine and bioengineering. This part will also include completing the finishing touches to the fairings and the final aesthetics.
Avanchair aims to reach the homes of all those who need it: 70 million people around the world.
Everything began with an encounter between Andrea Depalo and Ernesto Ciorra, Chief Innovability® Officer at the Enel Group, who believed in Andrea from the very start:
“Depalo wrote to me on LinkedIn two years ago, telling me that he needed to use a wheelchair but wanted to be independent from his family members,” explains Ernesto Ciorra. “He also explained that the main problem was that, once the batteries ran out of power, he could no longer move around, and so he suggested to me that Enel X adapt its EV charging columns in order to charge electric wheelchairs. I actually thought that this idea had already been developed by someone else. However, to my surprise, I found out that it hadn’t. So we set to work immediately, working with associations that support wheelchair users, to ensure that the charging columns would be effective also for charging electric wheelchairs.”
This collaboration between Enel and Avanchair led to the creation of the JUICEABILITY device.
Following a phase of coaching and acceleration for the Avanchair project within the network of Enel Innovation Hubs, Enel has decided to continue to support the project also financially with this crowdfunding campaign.
FOR EVERY 5,000 EUROS RAISED, ENEL WILL CONTRIBUTE A FURTHER 10,000 EUROS UP TO A MAXIMUM OF 50,000 EUROS.
Here is how much Enel has already financially supported our project.
In 2015, the meeting between Andrea and Emilio Rigolio was fundamental. Emilio is a businessperson in the sector of mechanics and automation: the motto of the company he founded is “We take on and solve the problems that others refuse”. He was the first person to make himself available to address Andrea’s needs and to accompany him in the development of his project. Shortly afterwards, Emilio involved one of his colleagues, Giovanni Nannini, a technical engineer who began trying to create the solutions envisaged by Andrea and designed by Emilio. In 2019 these three, who were joined by Roberta Rigolio, Emilio’s daughter and a biomedical researcher, founded Avanchair. The company, innovative in name and in deed, began working on the project to turn Andrea’s vision into reality: to develop and commercially produce this game-changing wheelchair.
Today the team is composed of:
Andrea Depalo – Creator and founder of Avanchair, Head of Innovation and Relationships with Project Partners.
Paolo Grisorio – Sole Administrator and Head of Communications, thanks to his extensive experience in corporate and social communications, media relations and content strategy.
Emilio Rigolio and Giovanni Nanini – the heart and soul of the technical side of the project. Emilio is in charge of mechanical development and Giovanni deals with the electronic side and related digital services. Emilio has 40 years of experience in the sector of robotics and automation; Giovanni is an industrial engineer and has many years of experience in designing and programming machines and robots.
Roberta Rigolio – Researcher in Neuroscience. She has a Master’s in Pharmaceutical Marketing and Medical Regulatory devices, and is in charge of the scientific area of the project.
Domenico Francesco Iermito – Financial Expert and Sustainable Business Strategist. A graduate in Business Management, he specialized in ESG/CSR sustainability and is in charge of sustainability and the project’s administrative and financial aspects.
The device that makes Avanchair function is registered with the following patents:
- Patented IT 1413183, IT 102017000139870, EP 3494945;
- Pat. Pending: US 16/204241, RU 201814233
For further information, visit the website www.avanchair.com
In addition to Enel, Avanchair’s main partner, the project is also supported by other backers.
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Avanchair is the name of the wheelchair developed from a patented industrial innovation that incorporates into its design a combination of integrated sensors and mechanical solutions to create a product that can become a true partner in daily life. Follow us and keep up to date through our social channels!
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