D-Rev, San Francisco, has been awarded approximately $100,000 (£76,280) to develop a low-cost polycentric, four-bar prosthetic knee, that will increase stability over uneven ground. By 2021, after an initial 18-month research phase, the company will be able to produce 10,000 knees each year, which are intended to benefit people with amputations in Bangladesh, Burma, Kenya, Nepal, Rwanda, and South Africa. The knees should cost about $80 per unit.
“The reason we went into this field is that there are lots of talented clinicians out there and, due to cost restraints, they were forced to use a lot of knee joints that are really inappropriate for young, healthy people,” Rob Weiss, product manager at D-Rev, told The Guardian. He said the target group for the new prosthesis would be young people, often young men injured in traffic accidents, who need knees that can allow them to continue with active lives. During the research phase, the company will explore development of a prosthetic knee with hydraulics or microprocessors that can improve walking speed, natural gait, and stumble protection, while keeping costs down.
The funding was won as part of Amplify, a competition funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, which identifies solutions to challenges facing people with disabilities in developing countries. Six organizations, out of nearly 500 entrants, were awarded grants.