Advanced low-cost prosthetic project receives Google funding

Engineering

Affordable new prosthetic limbs made with advanced technology are to be developed with funding from Google.

The Dutch social enterprise company ProPortion has received a $1 million (691,500 pounds) cash injection from Google.org, the charitable arm of search engine Google, for its LegBank venture.

“Google has provided funding for a new project to develop high-quality, low-cost prosthetic devices for amputees on low incomes.“

This project utilises technology developed at the University of Strathclyde called Majicast to manufacture lower limb prosthetic sockets.

The socket in the Majicast system connects prostheses securely to patients' residual limbs and is unique to each person. Sockets produced with the hands-free device increase user comfort and stability, with the added advantage of reducing the total time and costs involved in socket production by an estimated 75 percent.

Google.org's funding will facilitate LegBank's production activity and help distribution to developing countries. It is initially focusing on Colombia, which has one of the highest number of landmine victims worldwide.

Dr Arjan Buis, a senior research fellow at the University of Strathclyde's department of biomedical engineering, said the funding "will make a significant contribution to Legbank's work in delivering high-quality prostheses to people who need them - but often have great difficulty getting access to them".

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