War has left many in people disabled and struggling to live a life with limited mobility. However, one man on a mission to make a difference to this population of war crime victims is David Sengeh. A doctoral student from MIT, Sengeh is resting his vision and belief in his development of the next generation of prosthetics, crafted using the latest three-dimensional printing technology.
Twenty-seven-year-old Sengeh, who grew up in the midst the chaos of war in Sierra Leone, knows perfectly well the importance of the success of his research. He understands the difficulties and limitations of the prosthetic technology available today.
Finding that perfect fit
According to Sengeh, the primary focus of his research is on comfort and to be able to devise ways to produce perfectly fitting prosthetics. The challenge that he faces from the technology currently available is that the socket which connects the artificial limb to the receiver’s body is not tailored around an individual’s needs. The gap results in great discomfort to the wearer and is often not preferred to be worn for an extended period of time. Sengeh appropriately likens the discomfort from such prosthetics to the discomfort one feels when wearing undersized shoes.
Sengeh feels that 3D printing is the answer to this and would be able to produce prosthetic joints based on the receiver’s specific body structure. This is achieved by procuring the MRI of the limb needing the attachment and uploading it to a computer to create custom designed sockets. These sockets are in turn fabricated using the 3D printing technology and delivered to the receiver in a very short period of time.
The resulting prosthetics are known to be soft and does not cause blisters or soreness, which were very commonly associated with the traditional prosthetics.
Easier Production and Easier Availability
With the ever increasing clout of 3D printing technology, the cost and expertise required to make these prosthetics would be substantially lowered in the near future. If the system can be strengthened further to an extent that the required data can be easily extracted and fed to the printing machine, then it can lead to easy availability of 3D printed prosthetics to the deepest and the poorest corners of this planet. This over-the-counter availability should bring greater comfort to the lives disabled by the hatred in the hearts of the warring nations and vindicate Sengeh’s mission to bring happiness where it is needed the most today.