Monday, August 17, 2015

3D printing is bringing prosthetics to people in developing countries


When I first heard people talk up 3D printing as a source of low-cost medical devices, I thought it sounded a little far-fetched. Maybe I’d see that is another decade or two.

Turns out it’s being done now, in places where it can help the most. The Victoria Hand Project uses 3D printing technology to produce upper-limb prosthetics for people in developing countries. That’s where 80 percent of people who need prosthetic care live and where only 5 percent have access to care.

The project has set up print centers and formed partnerships with established prosthetic care providers in Guatemala and Nepal. VHP provides staff training and clinical fitting expertise and local knowledge.

The Victoria Hand prosthesis consists of a hand, a wrist, a socket and a harness. VHP says on its website that “3D printing has enabled us to create a highly functional, low cost device. Through this technology, the system can be produced for a fraction of the price of modern day prosthetics, without compromising its capabilities.”

For more details, visit Victoria Hand Project website or its fundraising page on Indiegogo.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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