VHP team member & lead designer Joshua Coutts with an amputee testing out the system in Zacapa, Guatemala.
Driven by a mission to democratize access to upper-limb prostheses around the world, a team of dedicated individuals ranging from high school students to engineers based at the University of Victoria have launched the Victoria Hand Project
. Their namesake prosthesis, the Victoria Hand, introduces 3D printing and 3D scanning technology to produce a low-cost, body-powered prosthesis to fit an amputee’s arm.
A Victoria Hand can be made anywhere is the world, within days, for a fraction of the cost of a standard prosthetic arm. The technology is first destined for print centers and partner clinics in Guatemala and Nepal.
“It’s a start,” says University of Victoria associate professor and team leader Nikolai Dechev.
“Eight out of ten people who need prosthetics live in developing countries. That means three million people need an upper-limb prosthetic but only five percent have access to care. For people missing an upper-limb, lack of a prosthetic is a major disability that affects their quality of life. With little or no infrastructure to support prosthetic care, amputees in areas like Guatemala and Nepal may never see gainful employment. The Victoria Hand Project is focused on getting prosthetic hands to those amputees who need them. We can make this happen.”