- Title: The prosthetic arm with click-on multi-tool attachments
- Date: 27th September 2019
- Summary: YOLA, NIGERIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TAILOR, MUHAMMED JAFAR, HAVING PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN OF HIS ARM
- Embargoed: 11th October 2019 09:37
- Keywords: Prosthetic arm with attachments Mitt Wearables amputee amputees prosthetics disabled children
- Location: UNKNOWN/ LONDON AND HEREFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM/ MISRATA, LIBYA/ YOLA, NIGERIA
- City: UNKNOWN/ LONDON AND HEREFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM/ MISRATA, LIBYA/ YOLA, NIGERIA
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA007AYKLJ6H
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Two London entrepreneurs are slashing the cost of prosthetics by creating a multi-tool-style arm which can be customised by swapping attachments for different tasks.
Mitt Wearables has built an arm which they say will cost under Â£500 ($622). In the UK the price for traditional prosthetics can range from Â£5,000 to Â£10,000 ($6,205 to $12,410).
"We make them sort of more like clothes and shoes. So they're comfy, they're really easy to fit," said Mitt Wearables co-founder Nate Macabuag.
"You can send them through the post to people and by virtue of all that simplicity, they're really affordable," he added.
The arm features soft fabric that can be tightened or loosened. It also has a magnetic clip that can pick up a variety of attachments. These include those for a toothbrush, paintbrush, skipping rope and hairbrush. Users can also use a pen, knife, spoon and drumsticks.
Its adjustability and low cost means it is suitable for children. Parents do not need to regularly spend thousands on replacement arms as their children grow.
24-year-old Macabuag began developing the technology as part of his mechanical engineering third-year project at Imperial College London. He teamed up with then fellow Imperial student Ben Lakey, 27, who was studying medical device design and entrepreneurship.
The duo sees potential benefits of their prosthetic in regions beyond the developed world, in countries that have a much higher amputee rate.
"What we've learned over the last three years is that 90 percent of people with limb loss are in low income regions," said Lakey.
"There's people out there, a lot of people with nothing at all and that's what really excites us, that this is something that can be scalable to them and hopefully help them out one day," he added.
The entrepreneurs have been working closely with amputee Alex Lewis. In 2013 he contracted a streptococcal infection. What began with flu-like symptoms led him to require a triple limb amputation within 12 days.
"I just think that the concept is brilliant, I think the product is brilliant," he said.
"The global impact on this for children and amputees globally is huge, it will be huge," he added.
Mitt Wearables has been trialing its product for the last two years and plans to make it available to buy in Europe next year.
It will be available online rather through healthcare professionals.
(Production: Stuart McDill, George Sargent)
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