Arun Cherian

2016 Scale-Ups Fellow

Founder, Rise Legs

A lightweight, ecofriendly prosthetic so amputees can run, play, and dance.

Website: Rise Legs

Pilot Market: India

Meet Scale-Ups Fellow, Arun Cherian

Arun Cherian quit his PhD in Mechanical engineering at Purdue University, USA to develop Rise Legs. Previously, he had been a researcher at University of California, Berkeley developing wearable exoskeletal suits to help the paralyzed people walk. He completed his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, New York and Bachelors in Mechanical from Anna University. Arun is an IDIN Network member who attended IDDS Aarogyam in Chennai, India. 

The issue: Prosthetic legs currently on the Indian market are either free and inefficient, or efficient, but far too costly for many users

In India, more than 26 million people are living with a disability, and for many of them, that disability prohibits or restricts their mobility. Amputees in India have access to free prosthetic legs, but the adoption rates are poor because these low-cost or free products are often heavy and inefficient for walking. In addition, these products rarely have follow-up sessions for readjustments which are so critical for amputees. 

Although there are more efficient prosthetics available, these products are often financially out of reach for those who need them most, creating a problematic gap in the Indian prosthetics market. 

The solution: A cost-effective and functional prosthetic leg that allows people to work and play

Rise Legs is a social enterprise that develops cane-based prosthetic legs with which amputees can not only walk, but also run, play and dance. Rise Legs gives wings to the dreams of many amputees and physically challenged individuals. At a similar cost point to the Jaipur foot, it provides similar functionality of carbon fiber prostheses and Rise Legs has partnered with sports, dance and martial arts schools to help amputees realize their dreams. 

Rise Legs are up to four times lighter than similarly priced products, and are fabricated using cane from local forests, providing a sustainable stream of income to local cane artisans. Each leg is assembled by local technicians and distributed in partnership with established programs and organizations that focus their work on people living with disabilities. 

With support from the D-Lab Scale-Ups Fellowship, Arun will complete a pilot clinical trial, set up a Rise Legs clinic in Bangalore, prototype a course on Rise Leg assembly and best practices, and through insight gained from a formal needs assessment, will explore potential to introduce Rise Legs on the African market.