The idea was inspired by the father of co-founder Nick Gough. Gough's father, a mechanical wheelchair user, found that operating a wheelchair was causing him joint pain over time. Upon further investigation, Gough and his father found that many other mechanical wheelchair users experienced this problem. The fundamental problem is that turning the wheels of a manual wheelchair requires the arms to be constantly bent in an unergonomic angle. Wheelchairs are also difficult to maneuver on uneven terrain, making it difficult for him to enjoy activities such as camping, one of the family's favorite pastimes.
The Mechaddy is currently being prototyped, and will begin testing in later this month. The Mechaddy is scheduled for release to market in May of this year. VR's recent wins at ASU's entrepreneurship competitions such as the Innovation Challenge and Edson's Demo Day have earned the team an additional $10,000 total in funding, which will be put towards perfecting the Mechaddy for market.
Mobility is only the first of many problems that VR plans to take on, and solve. Following the release of the Mechaddy, the company has plans to expand its offerings with more products that will improve the overall quality of life for those with disabilities.
# # #
When Phoenix-based company Vantage Realized, LLC (VR) was established in 2011, its purpose was simple: improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.
Co-founder Nicholas Gough's father, a manual wheelchair user, inspired VR's first product: the Mechaddy, which would improve the level of control and ergonomics of operating a manual wheelchair. The venture quickly picked up interest and speed--and with the help of the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, VR is making the Mechaddy a reality. Since its establishment, VR has expanded its team and is realizing its vision. Future products are being planned and growth is expected, but the VR team remains committed the people whose lives we set out to improve.