UVic project uses 3D technology to build prosthetic devices for people in developing countries

WATCH: A UVic graduate is travelling back to his native Nepal to give prosthetics to amputees

A team of researchers at the University of Victoria is working to build prosthetic devices for people in the developing world.

Eighty per cent of those who need prosthetics live in developing countries, but only 2 per cent receive treatment. Cost is the biggest issue as models can range anywhere between $12,000 and $70,000.

The UVic models are considerably cheaper.

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“Our system costs about $100 in materials and can be fit to the patient by a prosthetist for $300,” said engineering assistant Kalonica Christie.

The hands are custom built using 3D printers.

“It lays downs layer by layer and slowly builds up the component,” said Christie.

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Trials are underway in Guatemala and Nepal, the home country of one of the researchers.

The plan is to eventually establish printing stations where the need is greatest.

While they have received some government support, the team hopes to raise about $95,000 through crowdfunding.

“That money will go towards print setters being established in Guatemala and Nepal and the funding of clinics in both of those countries,” said Christie.

The money would also help pay for up to 50 prosthetic hands. But that’s just a starting point.

The goal, they say, is to make the model available to anyone who needs it.

-with files from Kylie Stanton

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