Metro News: University of Toronto’s solution for 3D printed artificial limbs going global

In the Media

Metro News: University of Toronto’s solution for 3D printed artificial limbs going global

“Sitting in a hospital in southern Uganda, University of Toronto researcher Matt Ratto had a brief moment of disbelief.

A 4-year-old girl named Roseline was trying on her new prosthetic leg, part of it made with a 3D printer in a process Ratto helped develop.”

Read more on Metro News.

The Daily Monitor: You can now have an artificial limb printed for you

In the Media

The Daily Monitor: You can now have an artificial limb printed for you

Image by Beatrice Nakibuuka.

“Six-year-old Samson Walusimbi is one of the patients at the orthopaedic workshop waiting to get his 3D printed limb. He had a limb that had been made traditionally but it was not fitting well. He had to take it back to get one that fits better.

Walusimbi was taken to Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU) by his grandmother Joyce Nakintu after his left foot had got rotten. He injured his foot while he was playing at the age of three but did not get immediate treatment.”

Read more on the Daily Monitor.

3ders.org: Nia Technologies receives $1.5M CAD to develop ‘3D PrintAbility’ 3D printed prosthesis project

In the Media

3ders.org: Nia Technologies receives $1.5M CAD to develop ‘3D PrintAbility’ 3D printed prosthesis project

Originally conceived by established nonprofit organization cbm Canada, (Nia Technologies’ parent organization) 3D PrintAbility is a 3D scanning and printing project, described by Nia as a “deployable digital toolchain”, which aims to deliver 3D printed prosthetic devices to children in developing countries. By combining affordable 3D scanning technologies with versatile 3D printing systems, Nia hopes to improve the lives of countless individuals in the developing world, where there is a shortage of affordable medical solutions and trained prosthetists.

Read the full article on 3ders.org. 

Phys.org: Bringing 3D prosthetic printing to developing countries

In the Media

Phys.org: Bringing 3D prosthetic printing to developing countries

“According to the World Health Organization, approximately 30 million people in low-income countries require prosthetic limbs, braces or other assistive devices. To make things even tougher, the vast majority who require these devices don’t have access to rehabilitation services.

Until now, that is.

Thanks to a Canadian non-profit called Nia Technologies – supported by University of Toronto research – children with disabilities in developing countries may soon have better access to high-quality and better-fitting prosthetics.”

Read the full article on Phys.org. 

U of T News: Nia Technologies brings 3D prosthetic printing to developing countries

In the Media

U of T News: Nia Technologies brings 3D prosthetic printing to developing countries

April 18, 2016

Originally published in U of T News by Dominic Ali. 

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 30 million people in low-income countries require prosthetic limbs, braces or other assistive devices. To make things even tougher, the vast majority who require these devices don’t have access to rehabilitation services.

Until now, that is.

Thanks to a Canadian non-profit social enterprise called Nia Technologies – supported by University of Toronto research – children with disabilities in developing countries may soon have better access to high-quality and better-fitting prosthetics.

Nia is currently testing its innovative 3D printing technology to help improve the lives of the disabled in developing countries. Nia’s flagship technology, called 3D PrintAbility, was developed in collaboration with University of Toronto professor Matt Ratto, who also serves as Nia’s Chief Science Officer.

“It has been incredibly validating to see how quickly clinical practitioners are able to adopt and even extend the cutting edge technologies we have provided to produce patient outcomes that potentially leapfrog our capacity in the developed world,” says Ratto.

Perhaps the best testament to Nia’s work was its very first patient, a spirited four-year-old Ugandan girl named Roseline who was born without a right foot. Roseline was outfitted with a 3D-printed prosthetic socket that was manufactured using Nia’s 3D PrintAbility. “With her 3D PrintAbility socket in place, Roseline was able to walk and run alongside other children for the first time in her life,” says Jerry Evans, CEO of Nia.

3D PrintAbility is a set of software tools that combines 3D scanning, modelling, and printing to produce customized prosthetics and orthotics for individuals with disabilities. Nia tested its devices in Uganda last year and will revisit the country in Spring 2016 and expand its trials into other developing countries in the coming year.

Nia’s prosthetics are made from high strength nylon, using consumer grade 3D printers that are available off-the-shelf in North America. The developers are pleased with the early results.

“Preliminary research shows that by using 3D PrintAbility, technologists in developing countries can produce well-fitting devices in 1.5 days instead of the usual 5 days,” says Evans.

As a social enterprise, Nia works towards establishing local expertise in developing countries. By training technologists to use 3D PrintAbility, Nia is transferring knowledge and skills that will help them help more people in their communities. During the initial clinical trial in 2015, the team in Uganda produced prosthetic sockets for about 40 children and youth with lower limb disabilities who ranged in age from 4 to 25.

Currently, 3D PrintAbility produces transtibial (below-the-knee) prosthetic sockets and ankle-foot orthoses (braces). But Nia hopes to add other orthopaedic devices in the future that will help more children like Roseline.

When Roseline tried walking with her new 3D PrintAbility prosthetic for the first time, she confirmed the value of Nia’s mission to its CEO. “It is in those magical moments that all the messy and hard work of innovation comes together and makes sense,” says Evans. “Seeing Roseline walk gave me a glimpse of how 3D PrintAbility could be of great value to other children and society at large.”