SP.733 Special Topics at Edgerton Center:Developing World Prosthetics

As taught in: Spring 2010

A drawing and a photo of a prototype showing different designs for a pediatric prosthetic device.

An early design (left) and prototype (right) of a pediatric extendable prosthesis developed by a student team in the class. In the drawing, rings grasp notches in the prosthesis to restrict movement. The team chose to prototype a saw-tooth design by cutting an oil-filled nylon rod into two pieces with a water jet. (Images courtesy of Cindy Oh, Deema Totah, and Nadya Peek.)




Ken Endo

Robert Emerson

Course Description

D-Lab World Prosthetics is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Jaipur Foot Organization to improve the design, manufacture, and distribution of rehabilitation devices in the developing world. The course welcomes individuals interested in physical rehabilitation to work on multidisciplinary teams of students with bioengineering, mechanical engineering, material science, and medical or pre-medical backgrounds. Students will learn about the basics of human walking, different types of gait disabilities, as well as the technologies that seek to address those disabilities. Patient perspectives and current research areas are presented. Lecture topics focus on lower-limb disabilities, including polio and above-knee and below-knee amputation, and will cover both developed and developing world techniques for overcoming these disabilities. Students form teams to design and prototype low-cost orthotic and prosthetic devices, and present their work at the end of the course.