Knee, a low cost prosthetic knee joint, is the latest winner of the
Cool Idea! Award from Proto Labs (NYSE: PRLB), the world's fastest
manufacturer of CNC machined and injection molded parts.
A patient walks with her ReMotion knee. (Photo: D-Rev)
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 with injection
molded parts to fulfill its next round of testing.
The ReMotion Knee project started in 2008 as a project in a graduate
bio-medical engineering class. The class collaborated with the JaipurFoot
Organization, India's largest provider of low cost prosthetics, and
later teamed up with San Francisco based designer Vinesh Narayan. In
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
Today, more than 4,600 amputees have been fitted with a ReMotion Knee.
As part of the Cool Idea! Award, 100 knee joints will be injection
molded and used in field testing to ensure performance as manufacturing
transitions from CNC machining to injection molded parts. The shift is
important for maintaining quality while serving large numbers of people.
"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 entire
design is extremely well done, both aesthetically and functionally.
Every aspect of the device has been well thought through, from the use
of high quality plastics, instead of metals, to save on cost and
maintenance without sacrificing performance; to the rounded edges and
spring that create a more natural appearance and gait."
"With the Cool Idea! Award we are able to test the new knee design with
much less risk, by only producing 100 injection molded knee joints. This
is not typical for most injection molders who require large production
runs. Working with Proto Labs has significantly accelerated the project
without adding risk," says Narayan.
Unlike other product awards that recognize products after they're in
mass production and on store shelves, Proto Labs' Cool Idea! Award is
meant to help cool ideas come to life. Eligibility for the award is
during the design and development stage, when innovators are too often
stymied by lack of resources or funds to turn their ideas into real
products. For more information about the Cool Idea! Award and how to
apply visit www.protolabs.com/CoolIdea.
About Proto Labs
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. The company provides "Real Parts, Really Fast" to product
developers worldwide and has two quick-turn services in North America,
Europe and Japan: Firstcut (www.firstcut.com)
CNC machining and Protomold (www.protomold.com)
injection molding. Both are capable of providing parts in as fast as one
business day. Product developers who use Proto Labs for prototypes and
short-run production can upload a 3D CAD file at any one of Proto Labs
online sites, get an interactive quotation and place an order for Proto
Labs services directly online. For more information, visit: www.protolabs.com.
D-Rev is a non-profit product development
company whose mission is to improve the health and incomes of people
living on less than $4 per day. For more information, visit: www.d-rev.org
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20130219006772/en/
Bill Dietrick, 763-479-7664
Gage for Proto Labs