Proto Labs Helps Bring Mobility to Amputees

The ReMotion Knee, a low cost prosthetic knee joint, is the latest winner of the Cool Idea! Award from Proto Labs (NYSE: PRLB), a manufacturer of CNC machined and injection molded parts.

Proto Labs launched the Cool Idea! Award in 2011 to give product designers the opportunity to bring their innovations to life by presenting up to $250,000 worth of prototyping and short-run production services to award recipients.

D-Rev, designer and manufacturer of the ReMotion knee, is 2013’s first Cool Idea! recipient. Proto Labs is providing D-Rev (www.d-rev.org) with injection molded parts to fulfill its next round of testing.

“We were attracted to the ReMotion Knee largely because of its mission and potential to improve the lives of thousands of people,” says Larry Lukis, founder and chief technology officer of Proto Labs.

The ReMotion Knee project started in 2008 as a project in a graduate bio-medical engineering class. The class collaborated with the Jaipur Foot Organization, India’s leading provider of low cost prosthetics, and later teamed up with San Francisco based designer Vinesh Narayan.

In 2010, D-Rev, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and income of people living on less than $4 per day, continued the project with Narayan, who was hired on as a product manager.

“About 10 million above-the-knee amputees live in developing countries, and the ReMotion Knee allows them to walk stably on uneven or unpaved terrain typical of the developing world. It also helps them return to work, and remain independent,” says Narayan.

“Current low-cost knee joints are mostly single axis joints. They operate similarly to a door hinge, and although they are inexpensive, they are unstable. ReMotion uses a polycentric mechanism, similar to anatomical knees, to provide greater stability.”

Proto Labs (PRLB) is a leading online and technology-enabled quick-turn manufacturer of low-volume CNC-machined and injection molded custom parts for prototyping and short-run production.

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