The ReMotion Knee: Designing Affordably and Accessibly


Everyone deserves great design; Everyone deserves mobility.

 

In the developing world, trauma, disease, and natural disasters result in hundreds of thousands of new amputees per year. 80% of those amputees do not have access to modern prosthetics, which is why numerous institutions work together to close the quality health care gap for underserved populations.

D-Rev is a non-profit institution that provides rehabilitation services and affordable prosthetic devices to the developing world. Their most recent innovation was made possible by three Stanford University students in 2008. After developing a sophisticated prototype knee for the Jaipur Foot Organisation—the world’s largest organization rehabilitating over 1.55 million people—Joel Sadler, Eric Thorsell, and Vinesh Narayan co-founded ReMotion designs, dedicated to updating and remodeling the originally entitled Jaipur Knee. Their objective was to design an affordable knee without compromising its quality. D-rev acquired the growing ReMotion Knee project in 2011 to allow them to continue their work for a larger global impact.

The marvel behind this product lies in its unique ability to be affordable and functional. The knee joint is the most complex and expensive portion of the prosthetic leg, making its accessibility to developing countries scarce. The cost of producing the prosthetic knee alone far exceeds the financial possibility for many amputees in lower-income regions. Prior to the ReMotion knee, the only affordable prosthetic leg systems, if available at all were using single-axis knee joints similar to a door hinge. Predictably, while walking on rough terrain, these joints were unstable and could buckle, leading to a sudden and dangerous loss of balance.

Designing for Productive Living

The importance of mobility is especially relevant in developing countries. Amputation in these cases can mean job loss and economic hardship far worse than what some families can handle. This ReMotion Knee has the capacity to change many lives in profound ways. By observing how patients interact with the limb, ReMotion Design was able to update the knee in the following ways:

  • High range of motion
  • Durability
  • Water resistant
  • Lightweight 
  • High performance
  • Noise Dampening
  • Universal Design (The ReMotion Knee fits all standard prosthetic leg systems)

 

High quality, durable, and $80!

Affordability is key, durability is critical, and accessibility is essential. This trifecta is made possible by combining world-class design, partnerships, and local expertise. The Re-motion knee allows amputees to go back to work and provide for their families at only $80, which is one tenth of the market price of similar devices.

Saddam, one of D-Rev’s ReMotion knee recipients in India, lost his right leg at the age of five due to a traffic accident. Like many he was plagued by the loss of his limb and had little hope to continue a productive and fulfilling life. After being fitted with the ReMotion knee joint, Saddam experienced visible improvements that had simply not been possible with the limited and stiff devices available before. With his newfound confidence and mobility, Saddam became an advocate for people with disabilities and wanted to create a safe space for them to return to the workforce.

Saddam founded an NGO that only employs people with physical and mental disabilities, continuing D-Rev’s mission of providing equal opportunities to all people. Saddam states that when given the right tools someone with disabilities can be empowered to achieve their passions at an equal standard as someone who is fully-abled.

 

All images courtesy of D-Rev.


For more information about D-Rev and the ReMotion Knee, join us for Bespoke Bodies: The Design & Craft of Prosthetics, on view at the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at PNCA in Portland, Oregon from February 15-May 9, 2018.