Jan 15, 2019 | By Cameron

Sometimes markets get oversaturated with entrants to the point that none of them can sustain themselves. Prosthetics is not one of those markets. I’m delighted every time one of these stories land in my inbox because there are still so many individuals being underserved in the space. Another young entrepreneur, Guillermo Martinez, is making headlines for providing 3D printed prosthetics free of charge to people around the world, with a focus on helping those in more remote regions that don’t yet have access to 3D printers.

24-year-old Martinez went to school for industrial engineering. He purchased a 3D printer in 2017 for $172 and started watching YouTube videos on 3D printing robotics, which is when he stumbled on 3D printed prosthetics hands. "One day, I found the prototype of a one-hand prosthesis on the Internet, and I started putting it together in ways that made me laugh — with the thumb up, twisted round, giving the middle finger," Martinez said with a laugh.

It didn’t take long for him to see the potential of the technology, stating. "I started making many 3D-printed hand prostheses for fun. Then I thought to myself, 'what if this can actually help someone?' I had already prepared my trip to Kenya and I contacted the NGO Bamba Project, as well as one of the orphanages that operates in Kenya. I didn't think I was going to find anyone."

Boy, was he wrong. The next morning he had several messages from people all over Kenya interested in receiving a prosthesis. "There are everyday things we do in our daily lives that we take for granted," said Martinez, "and we don't realize how lucky we are. For others it's a constant struggle, and that's why I set up Ayúdame3D to do my own bit, however small."

He wanted to produce the prosthetics in Kenya by teaching the locals how to use the 3D printers, but he found that the infrastructure was often too limiting. "I'd always considered making prostheses in Kenya — or somewhere else where I'd volunteered," Martinez explained, "but when I went there, I realised it just wasn't viable. I would have to spend a lot more time there to train someone in 3D printing, and the materials used to make the prostheses aren't easy to find there — not to mention the fact that, in Kenya, there are power outages all the time."

The great thing is that his prosthetic hands cost only $50 to produce, so with contributions from contributors and investors, Martinez has provided 50 prostheses to people in Kenya, Morocco, Chad, Tanzania, El Salvador, and Spain. His goal is to create a global network of 3D printers so local communities could produce their own prostheses. He’s started an initiative aimed at children to help them adopt the necessary skills at an early age.

"We contact schools and give each classroom some manuals to help train them in new technology. The first level involves teaching kids how to make key rings with their name on or with easy shapes. The idea is that the difficulty level increases gradually until they're making more complex constructions like prostheses. Once it's done, we'll give a talk about how the 3D hands will be put to use," Martinez explained. Keep fighting the good fight, Guillermo.



Posted in 3D Printing Application

Source: Business Insider


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