rapid-prototyping medical devices
Manufacturing prosthetics in war-torn, low-income communities is a time-intensive and expensive process. Cambodia has the largest number of amputees per capita due to land mines, yet most of its amputees have no access to prosthetics. For those who do, the manufacturing process takes weeks and the final product is more of a hinderance (heavy, bulky, and passive) than an aid.
To address this issue, I designed a workflow and technology solution in 2015 that involves scanning a patient’s residual limb with a mobile device/camera, processing the digital model in order to generate a custom fitted prosthetic socket, and printing the prosthetic using affordable bio-compatible plastic
First, the patient is landmarked for protrusions and notable features on the residual limb. Approximately 100 images of the limb at various angles are captured. These images are stitched together to create a digital model of the limb, at scale.
A socket that fits perfectly on the residual limb is generated in the software, and then printed.
The remainder of the prosthetic is assembled by hand. The overall material cost of the device is $5.
Cheng Savvy, my first patient, lost his arm and legs in a land mine accident decades ago in rural Cambodia and has been a trooper every day since. Nothing could have been better than seeing the smile on his face as he walked away with his new arm.