MEDELLIN, Colombia – A company in this northwestern Colombian city has developed personal lift platforms and cranes to assist in the care and transportation of people with motor impairments in public spaces and homes.
Tekvo Bioingenieria, founded five years ago by two University of Antioquia engineers, identified a business opportunity in urban layouts that make it difficult for people in wheelchairs to get around and in the daily lives of people who need to move around in their homes.
Motor-impaired people face challenges in reaching a house’s second floor and their movements should not “impact in a negative way” the health of their relatives or caregivers, Enrique Monsalve, Tevko’s general manager, told Colombia.inn, an Efe-operated news agency.
The company also found flaws in the urban environment that make it almost impossible for wheelchair-bound people or those who need assistance to “overcome architectural barriers.”
In Colombia, “there is a great need (for assistance) since architecture has not been thought out, for example, for someone who goes around in a wheelchair,” Monsalve said.
Tekvo has developed cranes that look like arms installed on wheeled platforms and help lift a person from a bed and place them in a wheelchair so they can go to different areas of the house or to vehicles.
“This crane allows you to lift the patient from bed into a wheelchair without the caregivers making any physical effort,” Monsalve said, adding that his equipment used Colombian technology.
The company’s affordable line of equipment includes platforms for going down the stairs with a price about 50 percent lower than imported equipment.
Five years after the project was created by a research team at the University of Antioquia, the company has experienced exponential growth, posting sales of more than 1 billion pesos ($387,000) in 2014.
“We have been doubling our sales every year,” said Monsalve, who founded the company with business partner Jorge Alberto Ramirez.