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Reclaiming Accessibility to Lower-Limb Prosthetics

By

  • Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

Description

Reclaim a-limb is a versatile D.I.Y prosthetic made of accessible materials, that provides an alternative solution to gain accessibility to lower limb prosthetic device, for amputee living in developing countries.

This project came as a result of final year academic thesis project aimed to solve the problem of accessibility to lower-limb prosthetic in developing counties in rural communities of Africa, India, and Cambodia.

To alleviate the ongoing problem of accessibility to prosthetic services and devices for the current 95% of amputees who are currently without access, out of an estimated total population of 40-million amputee living in developing countries.

Key Features

1

This D.I.Y lower limb prosthetic solution was designed for below-knee amputees. It was designed to be crafted, adjusted and repaired by an amputee within a community with a provided D.I.Y manual.

There are three iterative designs that have different levels of craftsmanship, adjustability, and repairability. Which has also been illustrated through a D.I.Y manual, that can be used to safely guide an amputee to fabricate their own prosthetic using the right medical prosthetic processes and practices at key stages of becoming an amputee, when prosthetic services are inaccessible.

2

While new technologies are currently being integrated into prosthetic services in developing countries, these developments often don’t reach those most in need.

Compounding this problem, devices produced with advancing technologies such as 3D-printing are often difficult to repair & have a significant problem with placing dependence on developed countries to provide, imports & exports of prosthetic care.

The proposed solution responds to this problem by proposing a closed-loop solution where the prosthetic can be repaired, adjusted and fabricated in the community, without having to be reliant on external services or deliveries for certain parts, or medical experts to adjust a single-screw.

3

An academic level of research was conducted on the technologies, materials and processes currently accessible in specific locations within Africa, India and Cambodia and has used this information to develop a D.I.Y. prosthetic design that has been informed by current medical ‘best practice’.

To provide an alternative solution to reduce the increasing demand for accessibility to prosthetics. The project uses Visual-Ethnography to gain an understanding of practices of re-purposing, repairing & crafting within these rural communities and builds on this understanding through extensive prototyping

4

Each prosthetic is designed with adjustable socket joinery, adjustable pylon, and fixed/adjustable foot. The socket joinery which is located between the socket and pylon allows for individual adjustment of a standard 30 degrees, like that of traditional socket joinery.

The foot depending on if it\’s adjustable or fixed also provides different levels of adjustments in different axis. All component that makes up each prosthesis is made from accessible material (bike components, re-used metal, wood, and synthetic composites).