Poverty is the dominant cause of amputation in Africa. It is also the factor that denies amputees the opportunity to get back on their feet. In Gambia, a country heavily affected by diabetes, a basic prosthetic leg costs around $530. When you consider that the average yearly wage is $380, it’s easy to understand how quickly lives can be robbed of mobility and movement. To make matters worse, in many African countries amputees suffer social stigma and exclusion for their predicament, as amputation is widely seen as divine judgment.
In the UK, over 5,000 prosthetic limbs are discarded every year, many of them in perfect condition. Once a prosthetic limb has been used or even tried on, it is considered by law a biohazard and cannot be redistributed in the EU. In many cases, organizations such as hospitals and nursing homes are forced pay to have prosthetic limbs disposed of.
Legs4Africa has stepped in to end this wasteful cycle and get the limbs to where they need to be. This year, Pall-Ex, the leading UK and European palletized freight network, is transporting 1000 prosthetic limbs to Gatwick Airport, where they will then be flown to hospital mobility departments in Gambia and Senegal.
Kevin Buchanan, group managing director of Pall-Ex, said: “It has been quite an ambitious project for the charity, particularly with the threat of Ebola affecting that area – but that’s more incentive to help in whatever way we can.”
Other companies involved in the project include builder Adrian Dale to provide pallets, DS Smith to provide packaging, and Ground Qube to supply the manpower.
For more information: http://legs4africa.org
Powered prostheses could improve ankle power, step-to-step transition and reduce metabolic demands over passive devices, according to a study recently published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International.
Researchers at the Brooke Army Medical Center used repeated measures to explore mechanical work during step-to-step transitions from a trailing prosthetic to the leading intact limb, steady state metabolic rate and ankle joint kinetics and kinematics.
Six patients using passive and powered ankle-foot prostheses and six able-bodied controls took part in the study. They walked at a standardized speed across level ground and up a 5-degree incline.
Findings showed that the powered prosthesis generated 63% greater trailing limb step-to-step transition work than the passive device during level walking. It also increased ankle power compared to the passive device. Metabolic rate was lower with the powered prosthesis during level walking, but not inclined walking, the study found.
These results could benefit further development and use of actively powered prosthetic devices in high-functioning individuals, according to the study.
A charity called EnablingTheFuture is using 3-D printers to make affordable prosthetics for children born without hands.
This week, two young boys in Texas got to try out their new hands for the first time. Jaxon Belew, 3, was born with a condition known as Symbrachydactyly which caused him to have a partial palm and five nubbins on his left hand. Jaxon received his Spider-man hand recently, but was a little shy about using it until he met Hudson See, a boy born with a similar condition. Hudson received his Captain America hand around the same time, and his mother says he’s having to relearn how to do certain activities.
The 3-D printed hands were designed by people across the country. Unlike prosthetic limbs, which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, EnablingTheFuture gives parents a more economic option for their growing children.
The 3-D printed hand costs $20.
Joel Gibbard, the founder of Open Bionics, a business based at the Technology Business Incubator at Bristol Robotics Laboratory in Bristol, England, has created 3D printed robotic hands to provide an affordable alternative to expensive prosthetics for amputees. Joel has been nominated for SEMTA’s Engineering Hall of Fame 2015, which celebrates the most inspiring and innovative British Engineers. His nomination follows Open Bionic’s first successful trial where an amputee was 3D scanned and fitted with a custom prosthetic that took less than a week to create.
Read more: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Bristol-inventor-Joel-Gibbard-created-3D-printed/story-25949808-detail/story.html#ixzz3QQi0vLvt