Lubomir Vassilev had devoted himself to a career in extreme sports in Bulgaria, until a tragic accident left his wife Silvia a paraplegic. From one day to the next, Vassilev, husband and father of five kids, abandoned his sports career and turned back to his training in engineering, focusing all his energy and efforts to bettering the life of his wife.
This led to the founding of I Rise Mechanics in 2018. Together with his newly formed team, he created the revolutionary Omnibot, a robot that assists people with lower-body disabilities by enabling them to stay in a vertical, upright position. Since then, these innovative mobility devices have been significantly improving the quality of life, health and independence of disabled people. In 2019 the company was awarded first place in the category Best Social Impact Start Up during the Central European Startup Awards.
Watching his wife’s struggles, Vassilev realized that one of the major drawbacks was the extended time in the wheelchair, forcing an immobility that leads to life-long secondary health issues like urinary tract infections, muscular spasms, and thrombosis. The vertical position helps change all that, enhancing her day-to-day physiotherapy, and perhaps best of all making possible a minimal turning radius that gives maximum maneuverability, making hard-to-reach places and objects easily accessible.
The robot is helping overcome a lot of the barriers that Silvia would otherwise face. She can now go to work independently, take a stroll in the park or go shopping. Vienna’s infrastructure is also a major factor in a more decent lifestyle for people in her position.
Choosing Vienna, though, was not a coincidence. Vassilev had been commuting for some time between Vienna, where his family is, and Sofia, where his lab and team are. However, 2020 changed the existing order. After being separated from his family during the first lockdown, Vassilev decided to bring his work and personal life together in one place.
In Vienna, the network of new-born startups is quite large and applying for funds is easier. He hopes to move the whole operation here, where he can make Omnibot more accessible to a broader spectrum of people in need.
Vassilev is also a part of Good Boys Custom – the first company in Bulgaria to design personalized devices for disabled people. The company offers systems that could manually trigger the breaks and the gas supply of cars for people with disabilities. Also, a passionate motorbiker, he has also formed an Adrenaline Dream Team of talented friends working to adapt a motorbike for people with disabilities. That’s what he calls his “superpower”, the desire to help and the ability to connect people to make it happen.