May 11, 2016 | By Benedict

Nia Technologies, a Canadian nonprofit established by cbm Canada to provide “3D PrintAbility” orthopedic solutions in developing countries, has been awarded over $1.5M CAD ($1.16M USD) by Grand Challenges Canada, Google.org, Autodesk Foundation, and Stronger Philanthropy.

Originally conceived by established nonprofit organization cbm Canada, (Nia Technologies’ parent organization) 3D PrintAbility is a 3D scanning and printing project, described by Nia as a “deployable digital toolchain”, which aims to deliver 3D printed prosthetic devices to children in developing countries. By combining affordable 3D scanning technologies with versatile 3D printing systems, Nia hopes to improve the lives of countless individuals in the developing world, where there is a shortage of affordable medical solutions and trained prosthetists.

Last month, we reported on Google’s $400,000 USD donation to Nia Technologies, given to support the nonprofit in its development of 3D PrintAbility. Now, several further organizations have chipped in to support the 3D printing project, with contributions from Grand Challenges Canada, Autodesk Foundation, and Stronger Philanthropy taking Nia’s funding past the $1.5M CAD mark. The funding will enable Nia to scale and further trial the 3D PrintAbility project, which is being developed in collaboration with Autodesk Research and the University of Toronto’s iSchool’s Semaphore research cluster.

3D PrintAbility has already undergone preliminary testing in Uganda, where in 2015 Nia helped local orthopedic specialists to create custom-fit, high-quality prosthetic devices using 3D scanning and 3D printing technology. The trial was a success, with the prosthetists able to reduce production time from 5 days to just a day and a half using commercially available hardware and specially developed software. Nia Technologies’ recent collaboration with software developer Vorum will enable the nonprofit to deliver even more effective solutions in future.

With the funds raised from the donating organizations, Nia will be able to assist an estimated 225 children and young people, helping them to walk and leaving a lasting contribution in the targeted regions. The money will also go towards ongoing research and development, orthopedic training, further trials, and creating an online support system for participating local technologists.

“Funding is the lifeblood of innovation,” said Jerry Evans, president and CEO of Nia Technologies. “It’s also a vote of confidence in 3D PrintAbility’s potential to increase access to life-changing prosthetic and orthotic devices in low- and mid-income countries. Grand Challenges Canada, Google.org, Autodesk Foundation, Stronger Philanthropy, and other donors are enabling us to rigorously trial the 3D PrintAbility toolchain in workshops in developing countries and create support mechanisms that enhance the knowledge and skills of local orthopedic personnel.”

The next round of 3D PrintAbility trials will take place in Uganda and other low-income countries in June 2016.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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