The number of amputees in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is unproportionally high compared to the western world. Researchers have addressed this challenge exploring 3D printing technology to create low-cost body-powered prosthetic upper limbs. Several notable attempts have shown that these type of prosthetic devices may be possible. However, the initial investment of 3D printers in local communities and the lack of knowledge in LMICs on how to operate and maintain these fabrication systems create challenges in delivering the expected impact.
The aim of the Helping Hand Challenge is to develop a body-powered, prosthetic hand (see video), that is made of low-cost, recyclable and accessible materials (e.g., bamboo) available in the local environment in the LMIC rather than using 3D printing.
Based on our recent research working closely together with LimbForge and the Enable Community Foundation (non-profit organisation who developed the first 3D printed body-powered upper limbs), this competition sets out to manufacture the best-designed prosthetic hand from low-cost material and develop a series of videos and protocols for local people in need.
Figure 1: Example – Parts of the assembled body-powered 3D printed prosthetic hand Raptor by the Enable Community Foundation.
All participating teams will be advised throughout by clinicians from developing countries (i.e. India). The best design will be chosen towards the end of the project. The winning team will visit Sri Lanka for two weeks working with local hospital/amputees to improve their design, share knowledge, deliver and validate the prosthetic hand engaging with local amputees.
Companies advertising/involved in body-powered prosthetic hands
Eligibility for participation
You are eligible to participate in the Helping Hand Challenge if you are a registered student at the University College London, United Kingdom, Escuela Colombiana de Ingenieria Julio Garavito, Colombia, University of Campinas, Brazil or Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil.
If you are interested in participating, please contact your local coordinator (deadline to register: 15 Dec 2017) who will mentor you for the duration of the challenge:
Prof. Dr. Carlos A. Cifuentes G.
Escuela Colombiana de Ingenieria Julio Garavito, Colombia
- Costs of tools and material (e.g. cost of bamboo material, screws, fabric, knife, hammer) (40%)
- Weight of prosthetic hand (30%)
- Number of tools and material to fabricate/assemble the hand (20%)
- Functionalities of prosthetic hand (e.g., power grip, precision grip) (10%)
|15 Dec 2017||Deadline for Expression of Interest|
|28 Feb 2018||Submission deadline for prototype design incl. 3 min video|
|Announcement of groups receiving financial support|
|Submission of final prototype incl. 5 min video|
|July/Aug 2018||Trip for 10 days to India to work with local engineering students and validate prototype|
Vinh-Chau V Nguyen, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Vietnam
George Chagaluka, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Malawi
Peter Mbiria Maina, Founder of Voltarent Engineering, Kenya
Edwin Stephen, Christian Medical College & Hospital, India
Suresh Devasahayam, Christian Medical College, India
Raji Thomas, Christian Medical College, India
George Tharion, Christian Medical College, India