A team of researchers from the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska Medical Center has received a two-year, $150,000 grant to design a 3D-printed solution for parents who cannot afford traditional prosthetic devices for their children. The clinical research effort is the first of its kind in the United States and is intended to increase access to prostheses for children in need. In the first year of the grant, researchers will design and produce the devices. Participants will be recruited for testing at the start of the second year.
Jorge Zuniga, PhD, assistant professor of biomechanics at University of Nebraska at Omaha and lead investigator on the grant, has spent years developing 3D-printed prostheses for children, including the open-source Cyborg Beast design. The grant was awarded by the University of Nebraska Collaboration Initiative.
“Current versions of [traditional] prostheses do not meet the needs of growing children,” Zuniga said. “As children grow they need replacement parts, which becomes cost prohibitive for parents. Meanwhile, the children themselves want designs that match their personality, which can mean everything from closely resembling human skin tone to replicating Iron Man’s arm.”
The team will also consult with an occupational therapist and Rakesh Srivastava, CPO, CEO of Innovative Prosthetics and Orthotics, Omaha, Nebraska.
Editor’s note: This story was adapted from materials provided by the University of Nebraska.