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Stanford graduates partner with clinics in developing countries to test low-cost prosthetic

A nonprofit started by Stanford graduates is gearing up to test its latest low-cost prosthetic – the ReMotion JaipurKnee – which is designed for amputees who live on $4 a day or less.

The knee prosthesis will be fitted to 1,000 patients in Latin America and Southeast Asia to make sure it works as hoped. D-Rev (Design Revolution), designer of the device, ultimately hopes to have it available in clinics across the globe.

“Mobility is synonymous with independence and opportunity, and they suffer, too, when a person loses a limb,” Vin Narayan, the company’s product manager, told me. “With the Re-Motion JaipurKnee, D-Rev combines user-centric design with our partners’ local expertise to give amputees around the world a chance to get back their mobility, as well as the independence and opportunities they’ve lost.”

The move to create a low-cost prosthetic for use in the developing world started with a graduate student project at Stanford in 2008. Students Joel Sadler, Eric Thorsell and two others designed the first JaipurKnee for use in India. The invention was named one of the Time magazine’s 50 Best Inventions of 2009.

The project took off and the students joined with Narayan to start a company to develop the prosthetic, which was initially field-tested in 3,500 people. The group has significantly refined the prosthetic and launched the 1,000 Knees Campaign to fund clinical trials of the latest version. Testing begins in 2013.

The company is partnering with local clinics to fit amputees with the knees and collect data on fit, training, user reaction and distribution. The prosthetics will initially be supplied to clinics free of charge, but once available on the market, the device’s target price will be $80. Users, however, will only pay what they can afford.

Previously: Biotech start-up builds artful artificial limbs
Photo by ReMotion JaipurKnee

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