“One small step for Man, one Giant leap for Mankind”
If ever that statement rang true, it is more so now with the advances in technology. Man walked on the moon in 1969, while prosthetic care dates back to the fifth Egyptian Dynasty (2750-2625 B.C.) While we as the human race strive for perfection in the face of adversity, sometimes we over complicate.
With the advances that are taking place in the medical field, specifically biomedical engineering, the inventions around prosthetics have moved to myoelectric and neuro sciences. As awe inspiring as these advances are and the capabilities that they give to individuals who are limb different, Robohand has taken a different route.
Using the current technologies like 3D printing, Robohand have gone “back to basics”. Taking the biology of how a foot, an ankle, knee and leg all work simultaneously and mimicking that into a comfortable, functional, low cost mechanical leg.
In the research that Robohand has conducted with patients who have prosthetic legs, the two main issues facing them are; 1. They are not comfortable, creating pressure sores on the bits they have left and 2. The functionality is limited in that the ankle does not respond, or they need to “kick out” the leg when they step which is completely unnatural. This in turn is causing secondary pain in the form of hip displacement and limping.
Richard van As has taken his idea of a simple, functional, low cost prosthetic leg, and with the help of several great minds, brought his concept to fruition. Robohand are lucky to have two Interns from the University of Pennsylvania, Pele Collins studying Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and Steven Rybicki studying a BSE in Bioengineering, who both applied and received a grant from the University to fund their Internship. Our colleague from Robohand Australia, Grae Scheuber who besides having a BSc (Hons) is a scripting genius, Ian Pells Robohand Cape Town with a Bachelor of Arts Fine Art, Higher Diploma in Education and Master of Arts in Fine Art, Leonard Nel VP Information Technology for ShadowMatch with a BSc in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, held a makers weekend from 16-19 May where the designs for RoboLeg were refined, scripted, printed and assembled.
Robohand released pictures of the first prototype on our social media pages with the hope for the publics input and feedback. Van As states “The prototype is still a work in progress and pneumatic press tests need to take place. It will be some time before we can measure and fit the solution.”
In the words of Grae “World this is a work in progress so keep your pants on.”