Design and Science, Meet the Prosthetics of the Future

By Akudo McGee 5 Min Read

Human have a long history with prosthetics. Some of the earliest surviving relics of our past include prosthetics for lost hands, arms and even parts of the face. Prosthetics have become integral to recovering mobility and normality in the lives of those who need them. Especially with the proliferation of 3D printing, startups have found new ways to improve them.

Danae, Inc. was born from the idea that one day, technology would be the solution to manage severe human pain and further the growth of human evolution. Our objective is to provide technologically innovative, affordable and customizable solutions that address amputees’ key concerns now and also in the future.

With technologies like 3D printing, prosthetics can be made to fit better, feel lighter and even look more human-like. However, most prosthetics remain utilitarian at best. Although the technology is there, many prosthetics on the market still lack the delicacy, beauty and craftsmanship akin to our original parts. What’s more, most of the high-end prosthetics remain expensive and therefore inaccessible to others, particularly those in the “developing” world or living under the poverty line.

This was something that Winston Frazer, founder of Danae Prosthetics, noticed on his trip to the small nation island of Sao Tome and Principe. During his time in the Gulf of Guinea area, he met with amputees who had become victims of the poor health care system. He wanted to do something more for these people besides just sympathize with their stories of embarrassment and shame from having no proper prosthetics.

Frazer pitched his idea for Danae, which takes its name from the mother of Perseus from Greek mythology. He secured funding along with five other startups that pitched their ideas for the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation grant. With the funding secured, Frazier began to hire employees, set up his own office and work on testing the software and materials to create prosthetics.

The purpose of Danae Prosthetics is to create prosthetics for lower-limb amputees, which are designed with the skill and attention to detail that only an artist’s hand could craft. The prosthetics are also designed to cost around $900, much less than most on the market. The designs cover the prosthetic device and give them a more natural look to their functional operation.

Instead of making prosthetic covers one at a time like most companies, their prosthetics use a computerized design in an automated process, which means developers can spend more time on new products.

A design house for humanity, we are focused on describing the ephemeral feeling of technology touching our lives. Connecting people and giving them control of the machines that make our product allow us to push past our mental and physical boundaries. We are creating an app that engineers 3D printed parts in the cloud for lower limb amputees to customize their prosthetic legs.

This is all done with 3D printing which not only allows Danae Prosthetics to create special designs, but also allows customers to create their own custom designs either by selecting a pre-made design or by uploading a scan of their own preferred design. Their prosthetics are still in the prototype phase, however they are designed to be 100% customizable once they launch their products. They’re hoping for a launch soon after securing an additional $50,000 in funding from Conscious Venture Lab, a business that focuses on companies that use their ideas as tools to help others.

Users can design their prosthetic art on the app or on desktop interface. To create their own design, users upload the shape and dimensions they prefer along with their preferred design. The blueprints are sent to the Danae Prosthetics team where they are computerized and made into templates for 3D printing.

The purpose of letting user design their own prosthetics is two-fold. The first benefit is that the user takes back control over the design of something they now need for the rest of their lives, due to no fault of their own. The second benefit is that prosthetics no longer have the medical, utilitarian or even “ugly” appearance they traditionally have – a benefit for those who feel self-conscious about them.

Danae Prosthetics is proving once again that a true social impact is achievable without costing an arm or leg.

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