Jun 28, 2016

IISc has created a device to help amputees use prosthetic limbs effectively

BYRamarko Sengupta

One of the major challenges the Red Cross faces when it comes to the usage of prosthetic limbs is the high rate of abandonment in rural areas. Over 30% of prosthetics it provides are abandoned by users in rural areas across the world, according to the Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber Physical Systems (RBCCPS).
The main reason behind the abandonment is discomfort, which occurs from not using the prosthetics properly, says the Indian Institute of Science (IISc)- based RBCCPS.
To address this problem, the Bengaluru-headquartered RBCCPS has developed ‘Sense’, a smart device that can be embedded or mounted on prosthetics. With the help of a tablet device (wirelessly connected to Sense), the amputee will be able to compare his or her usage of the prosthetics to its ideal usage.
NGO and Red Cross volunteers can also remotely track the usage of the prosthetics and intervene if required.
“People who lose a limb need to be trained in using prosthetics for at least a month. But many a time that is not possible owing to users being in remote areas or for other reasons,” Dr Vishnu Prasad, who heads the project at RBCCPS said.
The PhD holder from IIT Madras, who has earlier worked at the Ministry of Defence, said although the development cost is high, their aim is to get to Rs 3,000-5,000 per device, include the tab.
“By December we’ll license the technology and the mandate is to give it out to the public,” Prasad said.
Around the same time, the devices would be offloaded to the NGOs, who in turn would distribute it to nearly 100 locations across the country, Prasad said.
RBCCPS has so far put in around Rs 5 lakh from its own kitty into Sense. Bosch is also tying up with Sense, as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Illustration: Nikhil Raj

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Ramarko Sengupta is a writer of FactorDaily.