3-D printed and customized prosthetics

There are approximately 60,000 people with some type of impairment or amputation of one of the lower limbs in Colombia. Most come from low-income environments or families.

This is the proposal of a group of Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Faculty of Engineering students who hope to make these types of objects more accessible to low-income people.

Initially due to mechanical issues, they will only work with lower limb prostheses which will be printed in 3-D printers.

There are approximately 60,000 people with some type of impairment or amputation of one of the lower limbs in Colombia. Most come from low-income environments or families.

For this reason the main goal of the initiative is to reduce prosthesis costs and maximize accessibility, despite this may mean to reduce the durability of the prior. On average the price of a conventional prosthesis ranges between COL $600,000 and $900,000 (US $204 and $306) and they are in most cases denied by the Health Providing Entities and people have to resort to legal actions to uphold their rights.

“Making them with 3-D printing is more economical than with traditional methods and materials. On the contrary they are not as resistant and therefore their useful life is a little shorter as when using aluminum or other more resistant materials. However the accessibility will enable the average Colombian to have a viable option to have them,” said the members of the group.

In regards to customization of these substitute limbs, the students say that priority will be provided to people between 5 and 55 years of age, an ample portion of the population.

“The physiological issue is a very important factor for children as they do not understand why they are different from other children. Furthermore conventional prostheses are very similar to mannequins which increase their depression and impact their personal development. But if we show them an attractive design similar to movie characters or cartoon images, children may imprint their own personality to the prosthesis and they will feel more comfortable”, they say.

On the other side, students suggest a comprehensive service which not only includes prosthesis production but also its maintenance, physiological and health support.

“We believe that providing follow-up will contribute to embrace a lifestyle similar to any other person,” they concluded.

Agencia Noticias Unal  |

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