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