Rates of upper limb amputations following road traffic, industrial or agricultural accidents are high and rising in India with conservative figures from 2001 of 21M people living with disability. Victims are frequently wage-earning with dependents and a functional prosthetic hand could increase the likelihood of continuing employment, however current functional devices are not affordable.
A team at the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc) made a breakthrough with new concepts for the design of affordable functional prostheses and in 2014 began a Wellcome Trust funded collaboration with Mark Thompson at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Oxford with the aim of developing and commercialising these designs. The IISc contributed expertise in affordable and appropriate design, while the Oxford team supported biomechanical assessment, clinical trial design and commercialisation.
The IISc team have recently launched a spin-out, Grasp Bionics, to commercialise the PURAK affordable arm design together with project partners Mobility India.