CoRSU starts field testing 3D printed orthopaedic devices for children with disabilities

Media Release

CoRSU starts field testing 3D printed orthopaedic devices for children with disabilities

Kampala, Uganda – Monday June 13, 2016: CoRSU Rehabilitation Hospital is once again hosting Canadian researchers from Nia Technologies Inc. (Nia) and the University of Toronto to field test 3D PrintAbility technology innovation with orthopaedic clinicians and young people with disabilities (5-25 years). 3D PrintAbility uses 3D scanning, modelling, and printing technologies to design and make custom mobility devices. Originally developed to produce 3D printed transtibial (below-the-knee) prostheses, the product line has expanded to include much-needed Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFOs or braces), devices used to treat club foot, post-injection paralysis, and other common causes of disability among children in Uganda.

“We are always looking for innovative ways to improve patient care and increase access to life-changing mobility devices. We are therefore proud that 3D PrintAbility’s first-ever field test was at CoRSU in 2015. It proved that prosthetic socket production time could be cut by as much as 70%, from 5 days with conventional manual methods to 1.5 days with 3D PrintAbility. We are excited to see how the technology and materials have developed since the research team was last in Uganda,” says Moses Kaweesa, an Orthopaedic Technologist at CoRSU.

This research is intended to develop innovations that integrate with current practices and increase efficiencies. “Clinical partners are critical to our efforts to develop 3D PrintAbility as a solution that will work in resource-limited settings. Together, we are creating a system that builds on the skills and expertise of orthopaedic clinicians, allowing them to minimize time on manual production and maximize time on decisions about device design, fit, and patient care,” explains Jerry Evans, Nia’s Chief Executive Officer.

The collaboration between CoRSU and Nia is aimed at transferring technology in appropriate and sustainable ways that improve access to transformative mobility devices for children with disabilities. Production efficiencies will improve patient care: with less time spent at hospital for patients and caregivers when the device is made (one overnight stay instead of a week); and with improved health and social well-being.

In 2016, 3D PrintAbility is being field tested with clinical evaluations in Uganda and other countries. The purpose of the clinical evaluations is to further test: the appropriateness of 3D PrintAbility as a tool for orthopaedic clinicians in resource-limited settings; the biomechanical robustness and safety of 3D printed devices; and the strength, durability, fit, and comfort of the devices to children and youth with disabilities.

Nia’s team will be at CoRSU from June 10-17 to launch the start of the clinical evaluation which will run from June-October 2016.

About CoRSU

CoRSU is a Non-Governmental Organization that was founded in 2006 as a Centre for surgery and rehabilitation for people with disability, with special focus on children for whom we provide free surgery. The hospital specializes in Orthopaedic and Plastic/Reconstructive surgery and has made a tremendous contribution towards improved quality of life for people with disabilities. Additionally, we provide assistive devices, physiotherapy and Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) to our patients to enhance full recovery. Every year, over 4600 surgical procedures are performed to correct deformities and improve mobility and quality of life.

About Nia Technologies Inc.

Nia Technologies Inc. is a Canadian non-profit social enterprise that develops and deploys 3D PrintAbility orthopaedic solutions in developing countries. Formed and owned by cbm Canada, Nia is supported by the University of Toronto, Grand Challenges Canada, and other foundations and donors. niatech.org

Media Contacts

CoRSU
Phionah Katushabe
+256 772 036 496
phionah.katushabe@corsu.or.ug

Nia Technologies Inc.
Jerry Evans
jevans@niatech.org

Media Event
Thurs, June 16, 2016
CoRSU Hospital, Kisubi
11:00 am – 12:30 pm

 

Nia receives $1.5M CAD to scale 3D PrintAbility

Press Release

Nia receives $1.5M CAD to scale 3D PrintAbility

Grand Challenges Canada, Google.org, Autodesk Foundation, and Stronger Philanthropy fund 3D printing innovation – technology designed to cut production time for prosthetic and orthotic devices

May 10, 2016 (Toronto, Ontario): Canadian non-profit start-up Nia Technologies Inc. (Nia) has been awarded over $1.5 M CAD by Grand Challenges Canada, Google.org, Autodesk Foundation, and Stronger Philanthropy to trial and scale its 3D PrintAbility innovation. Hatched as an idea by cbm Canada, and developed in collaboration with the University of Toronto iSchool’s Semaphore research cluster and Autodesk Research, 3D PrintAbility is a viable, deployable digital toolchain that promises to cut production time and increase output in overtaxed orthopaedic workshops in developing countries.

Preliminary testing of 3D PrintAbility in Uganda in 2015 enabled local orthopaedic technologists to produce high-quality, better-fitting devices more quickly than with conventional methods, reducing production time from 5 days to 1.5 days. The toolchain combines specialized 3D scanning, modelling, and printing software with commercially available scanners and printers to produce custom prosthetic and orthotic devices for young people with lower limb disabilities.

“Funding is the lifeblood of innovation. It’s also a vote of confidence in 3D PrintAbility’s potential to increase access to life-changing prosthetic and orthotic devices in low- and mid-income countries,” says Jerry Evans, Nia President and CEO. “Grand Challenges Canada, Google.org, Autodesk Foundation, Stronger Philanthropy, and other donors are enabling us to rigorously trial the 3D PrintAbility toolchain in workshops in developing countries and create support mechanisms that enhance the knowledge and skills of local orthopaedic personnel.”

Building on its earlier funding of 3D PrintAbility’s development, Grand Challenges Canada is supporting Nia’s efforts to scale the technology. “Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, is pleased to support this bold idea which will have the immediate impact of helping an estimated 225 children and youth to walk and could transform how prosthetics are made,” says Dr. Peter A. Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada.

“Funding is the lifeblood of innovation. It’s also a vote of confidence in 3D PrintAbility’s potential to increase access to life-changing prosthetic and orthotic devices in low- and mid-income countries.”

Jerry Evans

President & CEO, Nia Technologies

Grand Challenges Canada’s funding is matched with grants from Autodesk Foundation, Google.org, Stronger Philanthropy, and others. This combined funding allows Nia to build its capacity, conduct ongoing R&D, expand the trials of 3D PrintAbility in developing countries, transfer knowledge to more orthopaedic personnel, and create an open source online support system for local technologists to test the quality of orthopaedic devices they design and print.

3D PrintAbility is being developed in Nia Technologies’ lab space at University of Toronto’s iSchool and will undergo further clinical trials in Uganda and other low-income countries starting in June 2016.

About Nia Technologies Inc.

Nia Technologies Inc. is a Canadian non-profit social enterprise that develops and deploys 3D PrintAbility orthopaedic solutions in developing countries. Formed and owned by cbm Canada, Nia is supported by the University of Toronto, Grand Challenges Canada, and other foundations and donors. niatech.org

Nia Media Contact

Kathleen Gotts, kgotts@niatech.org, 647.969.9351

Google.org funds Nia Technologies to improve access to prosthetic and orthotic devices for children with disabilities in developing countries

Press Release

Google.org funds Nia Technologies to improve access to prosthetic and orthotic devices for children with disabilities in developing countries

3D printing innovation shows potential to significantly increase output of orthopaedic workshops

April 12, 2016 (Toronto, Ontario): Nia Technologies Inc. (Nia) has received US$400,000 from Google.org to develop its 3D PrintAbility solutions and build an open source digital platform for orthopaedic technologists. Nia’s 3D PrintAbility uses 3D technologies to produce better-fitting prosthetic limbs at a faster rate than current manual methods. With Google.org’s funding, Nia is well-positioned to support the technology transfer, skills development, and productivity gains that will give more children with disabilities the life-changing prosthetic and orthotic devices they need.

Up to 95% of the people in developing countries who need assistive devices are unable to access them. Obstacles to access include a shortage of orthopaedic personnel, labour-intensive production methods, and significant costs to patients, especially those who have to travel vast distances for treatment.

Early testing indicates that 3D PrintAbility produces robust prosthetic devices in less time than similar devices produced with current manual methods. “We’re excited to see production times cut from an average of 5 days to as little as 1.5 days. This means that with existing infrastructure, more children in need will get prosthetic devices and enjoy a better quality of life,” says Jerry Evans, Nia’s CEO. Nia is continuing to test 3D PrintAbility with clinical trials in Uganda and other developing countries in 2016.

Since May 2015, Google has put $20 million in Google.org grants behind non-profits like Nia who use emerging technologies to increase independence for people living with disabilities. “The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities set out to accelerate the use of technology to create meaningful change in the lives of the one billion people in the world with a disability,” says Brigitte Gosselink, Head of the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities. “We’re eager to watch as today’s winners, selected from over 1,000 submissions from around the world, build new solutions that will transform lives and make the world more accessible for all.”

Evans says, “We are thrilled to be supported by a great organization like Google. Nia and Google are driven by a shared goal: to transfer technology in appropriate and sustainable ways that will improve access to transformative devices for children with disabilities in the world’s poorest countries.”

About Nia Technologies Inc. Nia Technologies Inc. is a Canadian non-profit social enterprise that develops and deploys 3D PrintAbility orthopaedic solutions in developing countries. Formed and owned by cbm Canada, Nia is supported by the University of Toronto, Grand Challenges Canada, and other foundations and donors. niatech.org

About Google.org: Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, supports non-profits that innovate to address humanitarian issues. Google.org was created to pursue, experiment with, and build upon ideas to improve the world, and continues to take an iterative approach to philanthropy today. Google.org develops and invests in pursuits that can have measurable impact on local, regional and global issues, and rallies Google’s people in support of these efforts with a singular goal of creating a better world, faster. g.co/disabilities.

Media Contact for Nia Technologies:

Kathleen Gotts, kgotts@niatech.org, 647-969-9351

Nia Technologies and Vorum form Partnership

Press Release

Nia Technologies and Vorum form Partnership

Nia Technologies and Vorum partner to deliver 3D-printed prosthetics and orthotics to children in developing countries.

Vorum provides software to help Nia Technologies boost the output of overtaxed orthopaedic technologists.

Toronto, Canada – April 7, 2016 – Canadian non-profit social enterprise Nia Technologies will integrate Vorum’s CanfitTM 3D design software into its 3D PrintAbility solution. 3D PrintAbility is an innovative digital toolchain that promises to significantly reduce the time required to produce customized orthotic and prosthetic devices for young people in the developing world. Large productivity gains are crucial in low-income countries like Uganda where it is estimated that only 12 practising orthopaedic technologists serve over 90,000 disabled children in need of devices.

On average, it takes five days to produce a conventional prosthetic device in Uganda and other developing countries. 3D PrintAbility shows promise to cut production to 1.5 days, meaning a child can be fitted with a new custom device within one overnight stay rather than one week’s stay at hospital. Nia is developing 3D PrintAbility in collaboration with technology partners like Vorum and trialling it with orthopaedic technologists in Uganda and other low-income countries.

“The ingenuity of 3D PrintAbility lies in its integration of highly specialized design software with inexpensive commercial scanners and printers to produce better fitting devices more quickly than is possible with conventional methods,” says Matt Ratto, Nia Chief Science Officer and University of Toronto Professor. “Vorum’s generous contribution of CanfitTM to 3D PrintAbility means that Nia will be able to deliver proven, comprehensive, and easy-to-use tools to developing countries like Uganda sooner and more economically than originally planned.”

Jerry Evans, Nia CEO, observes that, “Roseline, a four-year-old Ugandan girl born without a right foot, was the first patient to receive a 3D PrintAbility socket in 2015. With her 3D PrintAbility socket in place, Roseline was able to walk and run alongside other children for the first time in her life. Our goal is to help thousands more children like Roseline–and Nia’s partnership with Vorum, a market leader in fabrication technologies in the developed world, will help us get there sooner.”

“Nia’s 3D PrintAbility solution will enable a substantial increase in the capacity of the very few trained orthopaedic technologists in countries like Uganda to provide life-changing, high-quality artificial limbs to children in need,” states Carl Saunders, Vorum CEO. “We are thrilled to contribute to a social enterprise that will empower local providers to help thousands of additional children in the poorest countries.”

Clinical trials of 3D PrintAbility, now including CanfitTM, are scheduled to begin in Spring 2016 at CoRSU Hospital in Uganda. Transtibial (below-the-knee) prosthetic sockets and ankle-foot orthotic (AFO) braces will both be trialled.

About Vorum

Every 90 seconds, a custom orthotic or prosthetic device is made somewhere in the world using Vorum computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology. At over 650 facilities, practitioners are using Vorum’s digital solutions to increase productivity by up to 600%, slash device turnaround time, and improve the experience and treatment outcomes for their patients. www.vorum.com

About Nia Technologies

Nia Technologies Inc. is a Canadian non-profit social enterprise that develops and deploys 3D PrintAbility orthopaedic solutions in developing countries. Formed and owned by cbm Canada, Nia is supported by the University of Toronto, Grand Challenges Canada, and other foundations and donors. www.niatech.org

Media Contacts:

Nia Technologies: Kathleen Gotts, kgotts@niatech.org (647-969-9351)

Vorum: Stephen Brennan, sbrennan@vorum.com (800-461-4353 ext. 2302)

3D printing of prosthetic limbs begins at CoRSU

Media Release

3D printing of prosthetic limbs begins at CoRSU

Kampala, Uganda, January 19, 2015 – A team of 10 members from Canada are at CoRSU Hospital from January 19-23, setting up three 3D printers, training local orthopaedic technicians, and test fitting young patients with new 3D-printed prosthetic sockets.

The goal is to equip CoRSU’s orthopaedic workshop to deliver better-fitting prosthetic legs to children who need them – faster and at less cost.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that there are a quarter million children with disabilities in Uganda.

“Many children have lost limbs due to severe bone infections, polio, injury and violent conflict. Others have been born with defects or malformations. Thousands of these children are going without the prostheses they need, because there aren’t enough orthopaedic technicians to make and fit the prostheses,” reports Mitch Wilkie, Director of International Programs for cbm Canada, and leader of the project team. “The result is children who are unable to walk to school, or run and play with their friends. These kids live with greatly limited opportunity and too often with stigma and discrimination.”

“The World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated that the current shortfall of prosthetic technicians in the developing world is 40,000 and that they can only train up about another 18,000 if they spent another 50 years doing so,” according to Matt Ratto, professor at the faculty of information at the University of Toronto, who is a member of the team at CoRSU this week.

In order to solve this problem, cbm Canada is partnering with University of Toronto and Ratto’s team, using consumer-grade 3D printing and scanning technology to reduce the need for technicians in developing countries, by making it easier to make parts for prosthetic limbs.

The entire process requires approximately 6 hours and less than $12,000 in equipment; the cornstarch-based PLA plastic to make a socket costs about $3.

Currently in Uganda, producing a socket involves 5 to 6 labour-intensive days and the use of plaster of Paris moulds dried in the sun, causing often ill-fitting sockets, the discomfort of which discourages their use.

The project team will experiment with a variety of plastic materials and techniques for printing the wall of the socket for greatest strength and durability with the least weight and material. They will also evaluate the potential use of Canadian custom-made 3D printers that may be better purposed for this application in the developing world.

Most importantly, the team will incorporate good development principles by ensuring disability inclusion, gender equity and environmental sustainability within the project’s scope.

cbm is a leading international Christian development organization committed to improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities in the poorest countries of the world. The organization helps more than 24 million people annually, supporting over 600 life-changing projects (like CoRSU), serving those with disabilities in more than 70 developing countries.

For more information, see www.cbmcanada.org, www.corsu.or.ug

cbm Canada forms Nia Technologies – Faster, Better Access to Prosthetic and Orthotic Solutions for Children in Developing Countries

Press Release

cbm Canada forms Nia Technologies – Faster, Better Access to Prosthetic and Orthotic Solutions for Children in Developing Countries

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Dec. 7, 2015)

cbm Canada – a world leader in serving people living with disabilities in the poorest countries of the world – announces the formation of Nia Technologies Inc. (niatech.org) and the appointment of Jerry P. Evans as Nia’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Nia is a not-for-profit social enterprise that is developing and deploying 3D-printed prosthetic and orthotic solutions in the developing world (known as “3D PrintAbility”). “Nia” means “purpose” in Swahili, and Nia Technologies’ mission is to use technology for a higher purpose.

In response to the massive need for prosthetic appliances among the poorest children of the world, cbm Canada initiated a partnership with the University of Toronto and Autodesk Research. “We were looking for a way to make faster and better prosthetics in rural Africa,” says Ed Epp, Executive Director of cbm Canada. “We figured 3D printingtechnology could give us huge gains in efficiency. That’s how 3D PrintAbility was born.”

Epp explains, “We decided to launch Nia as a separate enterprise, because we believe that developing innovative technologies to equip hospitals in poorer countries requires the full attention of a governance board and a leadership team. And it needs the nimbleness of a dedicated entity. It’s about using technology to help more people with better services.”

Nia has conducted clinical evaluations at CoRSU hospital in Uganda and anticipates additional clinical trials elsewhere to ensure that its prosthetic and orthotic solutions are safe, effective and efficiently built from durable, high-quality materials.

Evans reports, “Roseline, a four-year-old Ugandan girl, was Nia’s first patient. She was born without a right foot. Roseline now wears a 3D-printed prosthetic socket manufactured using Nia’s 3D PrintAbility solution. Roseline can walk, run and play alongside other children for the first time in her life.”

In addition to providing prosthetic sockets, Nia is planning to extend its clinical trials and product offerings to include ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs), for which there is considerable need in the developing world.

The World Health Organization estimates that there is a global shortage of 40,000 trained prosthetists, and there are millions of children in desperate need of prosthetic and orthotic assistance. Evans states, “Nia’s 3D PrintAbility materially increases the productivity of today’s prosthetists, enabling them to reach more children facing daily challenges of poverty and disability, which all too often co-exist in the developing world.”

cbm Canada is a registered charity giving hope and healing to children and families caught in the cycle of poverty and disability. Media Contact: Beth Jost-Reimer at bjreimer@cbmcanada.org.

cbm Canada – Because no one should be forgotten

Nia Technologies is a Canadian not-for-profit social enterprise that develops and deploys prosthetic and orthotic solutions in the developing world. Media Contact: Jerry P. Evans at media@niatech.org.

Nia Technologies Inc. Technology For a Higher Purpose

Interviews are available: with Ed Epp, Executive Director of cbm Canada, and Jerry Evans, President and CEO of newly formed Nia Technologies

To view the photo associated with this news release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20151204-1035716.jpg