Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Open-Source Colaborative Approach To Better Prosthetics

A recent NPR article and webcast features Jonathan Kuniholm, who, after a tour of duty in Iraq, was missing part of his right arm — which he lost when his Marine patrol was ambushed near Haditha.

When Kuniholm returned to his design shop, Tackle Design, he brought along three prosthetic arms given to him at Walter Reed Medical Center — the same body-operated hook many veterans have used since World War I, a shorter utility prosthetic, and a new, state-of-the-art myoelectric arm. Each one had its drawbacks — and when Kuniholm and his Tackle Design colleagues disassembled them, they quickly concluded that they could improve on the designs.

They founded the Open Prosthetics Project, an open-source collaboration that makes its innovations available to anyone. And Kuniholm signed on with Revolutionizing Prosthetics, an initiative of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.