AMPARO Socket Wins Top Student Innovation Award at RPI



The AMPARO team, from left: Dion, Isabel Bahiana Wotzasek, Wesley Teerlink, Lucas Paes de Melo, Jessica Menold, and Marco Eisenburg, Global Engineering Teams project adviser. Photograph courtesy of Team AMPARO.

Team AMPARO earned the top honor and a $5,000 grand prize for its low-cost, lower-limb prosthetic socket in the Change the World Challenge sponsored by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The AMPARO socket, which is made primarily from a thermoplastic material, has a user-focused design and is easy to maintain, according to AMPARO's website. It can be quickly molded and fit to a patient's individual geometry and shape-allowing the prosthesis to be adjusted at home when needed instead of at the prosthetist's office, which may not always be easily accessible in developing countries. The technology was created by Matthew Dion, a class of 2017 RPI biomedical engineering student.

The Change the World Challenge competition is a biannual event created to support entrepreneurship education and inspire RPI students to consider ways to improve the human condition. Each semester, a $10,000 prize is shared by the winning students and student teams who develop the most promising innovative ideas and inventions. The Best of the Best award, which Team AMPARO won, is chosen from the fall 2015 and spring 2016 Change the World Challenge winners. This award accelerates the progress of a fall or spring student entry that demonstrated a strong commitment and clear momentum in pursuing the commercialization of its idea.