Vac-Cast Prosthetics (IDEAS Competition Prize-winner $7,500)


Vac-Cast prosthetics.

Every year, there are over 25,000 new amputees in India as a result of disease, and agricultural, industrial and road accidents. Roughly half of these victims receive a prosthetic device that is specifically tailored to their residual limb. The other half receive no prosthetic, despite the fact that organizations exist to provide this prosthetic fitting and manufacturing service at no cost to the patient. One of the deciding factors for a patient to opt for that service is whether they can devote the two to three days needed to be treated with the prosthetic fitting and fabrication process. Conversely, service organizations are limited in their patient throughput by the finite resources that they can allocate per patient for the lengthy treatment.

Fortunately, there is a novel sand-casting fitting technique that could increase patient throughput by a factor of five. This technique however can not be deployed because its core support equipment, an electric vacuum device, is too costly and electricity intensive for a clinic to bear. To overcome the existing limitations of deploying this sand-casting technique, we have developed a simple alternative to the vacuum machine in current use. Our technology is a unique and easy-to-use human-powered evacuation device that costs under $200, is built from tools commonly found in a mechanic shop, uses no electricity and can be integrated seamlessly with the other sand-casting treatment devices.

Our community partner in this endeavor is Jaipur Foot Organization (JFO), the world leader in the fitting and manufacturing of prosthetic limbs. We have developed this device in collaboration with JFO affiliates in order to guarantee that our technology will meet the same needs currently supported by the electric vacuum machine. We will work with JFO to field test the device in August 2007 in Jaipur, India, with the expectation of continued collaboration to manufacture and distribute our vacuum device to JFO clinics worldwide.

Final Proposal (PDF)

Final Presentation (PDF)