3D printed prostheses: the significance of public welfare needs more attention
[Guide] According to statistics from the World Health Organization, 0.5% of people in the world need prostheses, orthotics or rehabilitation services. This figure indicates that approximately 40 million people around the world need external tools to support their daily activities.
China Fans’ News With the rapid development of science and technology in the new era, there is no doubt that the improvement and improvement of our living standards now benefit from technology. At the same time, technology is quietly helping some people with behavioral disabilities to return to normal life. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, 0.5% of people in the world need prostheses, orthotics or rehabilitation services. This figure indicates that approximately 40 million people around the world need external tools to support their daily activities. Among these 40 million people, a large part of them cannot afford the high cost of traditional prosthetics or the long treatment period due to financial constraints or living in remote areas.
In response to this situation, more and more organizations around the world have used 3D printing technology to complete the development and production of prostheses to help those who need prostheses. In Paraguay, there is such a non-profit 3D printed prosthetic organization-PO.
The origin of [PO]
In Paraguay, a hospital performs 1-2 amputations a day. Among these patients who have undergone amputation, less than 1% can be fitted with a prosthesis.
In 2014, Fernando Vallese and Eric Dijkhuis learned about this situation and decided to set up a non-profit 3D printed prosthetic organization, recruiting members to design, develop and produce high-quality, low-cost 3D printed prostheses, and help more people in need get them. Prosthetic limbs, have a better life.
▲Founder Eric Dijkhuis (left) and Fernando Vallese (right)
They named the organization "PO". The word is taken from the Guarani "hand", the second official language of the Paraguay region. They say this represents the original intention of the group-unique and self-confident. Therefore, this has also become the name of the 3D printed prosthesis it has developed.
They firmly believe that the birth of every "PO" can affect every bit of the world, and there is a warm story behind every "PO".
Excellent work results
According to organization member Mateo Acosta, the team has now grown to 12 full-time staff, as well as volunteers from the United States, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Germany and other parts of the world, many of whom are experts in various fields.
▲Group photo of team members
▲Meeting with volunteers
It is reported that after delivering the first "PO" to users in 2014, they have provided more than 300 prostheses in South America (Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Honduras).
"We not only make a single hand or leg prosthesis, we also develop special prosthetics for specific purposes, which can be more convenient for users to use in daily life and work. For example, we use for cycling, hairdressing, makeup, playing the violin, etc. Developed a suitable prosthesis, 3D printing makes all this unrestricted.” Mateo Acosta said.
The original user No. 1 Elías Benítez now has 4 or 5 3D printed prostheses. He chooses different prostheses for different purposes every day, such as dining, playing the violin or playing the guitar.
As the demand for customization continues to increase, the workplace is also expanding. "We have a workshop dedicated to the production of 3D printed prostheses. We call it PoTaller. The entire area has a clear division of work areas," Mateo Acosta said. "The workbench on the left is the hand prosthetic assembly area, and the right is the leg. The prosthetic assembly area, in the middle is the 3D printing area. The equipment is constantly increasing. At present, we have 3 leader 2S, 1 adventurer 3, 1 discoverer and 1 dreamer. It takes no more than a week to make an arm prosthetic. ."
▲PoTaller workshop display
When asked about the applicable age of 3D printed prosthetic limbs, Mateo Acosta said, “Recently, our work target is 6-year-old children. We mainly make aesthetic prosthetics for them with simple functions, such as writing. The rest of the prosthetic limbs do not have age restrictions. It will be tailored to the needs of each customer."
It is understood that they are still developing new prostheses with electromyographic devices, as well as cooperating with industrial designer Rafael Mongelos and metal manufacturing company L'acerie to develop metal accessories for leg prostheses, which can bring a better experience.
Expectations and expansion
As PO continues to grow, their ambitions don't stop there. They have cooperated with more than 30 organizations, including well-known institutions such as Coca-Cola and UNESCO, and have formulated the first 3D printing prosthetic standard in Latin America, effectively promoting industry norms.
They are also actively promoting social science-related STEAM education, reaching strategic cooperation with many well-known colleges and universities, conducting research on social issues and medical technology, providing internship opportunities, organizing online and offline activities, and helping people with disabilities to better integrate Society.
At the same time, due to the majority of female members of the team, they began to pay attention to issues such as gender discrimination, committed to promoting the promotion of women’s social status, and obtaining fair education and job opportunities.
The current PO is not only dedicated to the development of 3D printed prostheses. At present, they are working hard to promote equality and harmony in society, and this great and warm dream journey will continue.