Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have developed an affordable prosthetic leg specially designed for Indian conditions.
The prosthetic leg is greatly suitable for uneven terrain and supports Indian needs such as cross-legged sitting, and deep squatting. It is also adjustable for the different age groups and multiple stages of prosthesis use.
"This research was funded by the Ministry of Education, Government of India and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. IIT Guwahati researchers collaborated with 151 Army Base Hospital, Guwahati; Tolaram Bafna Kamrup District Civil Hospital, Guwahati; Guwahati Neurological Research Centre (GNRC), North Guwahati; and North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGHRIMS), Shillong,” a statement by IIT Guwahati read.
"Highly functional mobility for amputees requires devices with advanced features which are expansive and cannot be afforded by many. Further, affordable prosthetics that are available in the market have many functional limitations. In addition, the Indian lifestyle and uneven terrain require prosthetics with specifications unique to India, which are not widely available in the market," it further stated.
A team led by Prof. S Kanagaraj, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, set out to tackle these issues. Prototypes of their models developed by this research team are currently undergoing trials.
Highlighting the key areas of their research, Prof. S Kanagaraj said, "The knee joint developed by our team has a spring-assisted deep squat mechanism, which helps to use Indian toilet system more comfortably; the knee rotating mechanism helps to have cross-legged sitting; the locking mechanism helps to reduce the fear of falling of patients while walking in unknown terrain; adjustable link length in a knee helps to have either more stability or easy flexing depending on age and requirement of the patients. Overall, the knee joint is designed to meet the Indian lifestyle which other products fail to fulfil."
Furthermore, IIT Guwahati said in a statement that the Prosthetic leg is tested as per international standard loading conditions up to 100 kg body weight.
Reduced weight of prosthetic leg is achieved by selecting suitable polymers, aluminium alloys and stainless steel for different components. A cost of around Rs 25,000 is ensured using the technology.