- Title: Nigerian innovation hub develops 3D-printed limbs for amputees
- Date: 27th August 2019
- Summary: VARIOUS OF 3D LIMBS DEVELOPERS SEATED AND LOOKING AT DESIGNS ON SCREENS
- Embargoed: 10th September 2019 16:48
- Keywords: prosthetic limbs amputees 3D prosthetic limbs criminal gangs conflict militants
- Location: YOLA, NIGERIA
- City: YOLA, NIGERIA
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Information Technologies / Computer Sciences,Science
- Reuters ID: LVA002ATZT8PJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Twenty-five-year-old Muhammed Jafar lost his left hand in January this year while he was part of a vigilante group, formed to protect his neighborhood in Yola, northern Nigeria.
Jafar helped rescue a teenage girl who was kidnapped by a criminal gang, known for mugging residents and creating insecurity in the city.
The gangs' members later came after the vigilantes and Jafar's forearm was hacked off as he tried to shield his head from his attackers.
He recently got fitted with a new 3D-printed prosthetic arm and is now able to earn a living as a tailor.
"This limb has helped in reducing the humiliation I used to feel. When I put it on, it covers the part that was cut off from my arm and most people cannot differentiate between the limb and my real arm. It helps me to do some activities," said Jafar.
Like Jafar, many other amputees who live in northeast Nigeria now have access to prosthetics, thanks to a team of developers at Yola's Northeast Humanitarian and Innovation Hub.
The hub was set up in 2018 by the Nigerian government to encourage tech enthusiasts to find innovative ways of solving some of the regions social problems.
North-eastern Nigeria has been the scene of conflict and insecurity for over a decade as militant group Boko Haram continues to wage an insurgency campaign against the government.
Also clashes between farmers and nomadic herders over dwindling arable land have seen thousands of people killed and tens of thousands more displaced.
Many victims have lost limbs as a result of the violence - most cannot afford prosthetics.
3D printing reduces the cost of production compared to conventionally manufactured prosthetics, and is also said to offer advanced functionality.
The 3D-printed prosthetics offered in Yola would cost about 1,000 US dollars, but the team has given out over 6 prosthetics for free in the region.
They have a list of over 100 amputees across the north-east waiting to be fitted.
Muhammed Ibrahim is a founding partner of the lab.
"The lab itself hasn't really been operational for more than like 2 months and we have already impacted 5...you know 6 kids with limbs including a police officer also who lost his limb in the line of duty. We have also provided a 3D limb for him so it is much cheaper, much much cheaper," he said.
Jafar's prosthetic hand is controlled by the movement of muscles prompted by the brain, allowing neural influence not seen in many of the basic models that are more widely available.
Ahmad Tijani says work is still being done to improve the prosthetics further by adding more sensors that can - for example - detect temperature.
"It is not just printing the limbs but also adding robotics to it to improve functionality. So and with robotics we now have sensors coming in within which model of thoughts is designed and transmitted for the user," says Tijani.
Tijani and his colleagues say they will continue working to offer as many cutting-edge features to recipients like Jafar, to help them go about their lives with much more ease and dignity.
(Percy Dabang, Angela Ukomadu)
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