Turning 3D printing into a charitable activity, a University of Victoria Associate Professor uses this technology to create field-ready prosthetic hands for $320. Using his engineering tools to aid amputees, Nikolai Dechev has launched a campaign to bring 3D printed prosthetic hands to Guatemala and Nepal.
Victoria, BC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/25/2015 --It's typically something taken for granted but if you were missing a hand, how would the day go? How would you tie a shoe, fish a dollar from a wallet, or how would a living be made? Leaves one to think, "What should a hand cost?". Ask an amputee in a developing country that question and they'll likely say a hand is priceless. And they'd be right. With little or no infrastructure to support prosthetic care, amputees in areas like Guatemala and Nepal may never see gainful employment. But thanks to the ingenuity of one academic and his dynamic team at the University of Victoria, 3D printing and 3D scanning technology is being used to fundamentally change the access to prosthetic devices.
Using their new approach, an upper-limb prosthetic called a Victoria Hand can be made anywhere in the world within one week, for $320. University of Victoria Associate Professor, Nick Dechev has already taken this proven technology out of the university lab, and deployed it via field trials to countries that need cost-effective prosthetics. With these positive results in-hand, he endeavors to now raise $94,000 with crowdfunding support on Indiegogo.com. This will help establish Print Centers and Partner Clinics first in Guatemala and Nepal, and provide 100+ amputees with an upper-limb prosthetic. Furthermore, it will bring training, income, and an ongoing infrastructure to areas in desperate economic need.
Dechev said of the crowdfunding campaign, "Eight out of ten people who need prosthetics live in developing countries. That means three million people need an upper-limb prosthetic but only five percent have access to care. Without their limb they can't work. With crowdfunding support we can help over 100 amputees with a Victoria Hand prosthesis. We can establish print centers and clinical locations, create two full-time and part-time jobs, and transfer leading technology to the developing world. It's a start, but our work can literally change the lives of the amputees and their families."
The Victoria Hand is a complete body-powered prosthesis consisting of a hand, a wrist, a limb-socket, and a harness. The Victoria hand operation is so intuitive that amputees can learn its operation and many features in only an hour. The prosthetics have a rotatable thumb and a back-lock mechanism that allows the hand to be locked while grasping an object. It also has a ball and socket wrist to orient the hand in a variety of ways. With 3D scanning the printed limb socket is customized to fit each amputee's arm.
For more information visit http://www.victoriahandproject.com.
About Victoria Hand Project
The Victoria Hand Project is a not-for-profit organization that designs and develops low-cost, highly-functional 3D printed prostheses for amputees in developing countries. The project seeks to increase access to upper-limb prosthesis through a leading-edge production/fabrication system that can be maintained onsite. The Victoria Hand Project is partnered with the Range of Motion Project in Guatemala, and the Nepal Orthopedic Hospital in Nepal.
To support the Victoria Hand Project visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/3d-printed-hand-prosthesis-for-guatemala-nepal#/story.
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Victoria