News Daily Spot: Mechanical arm, low-cost prosthesis "made in Paraguay"

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Mechanical arm, low-cost prosthesis "made in Paraguay"

Knower of what is used prosthesis in amputees members, Paraguayan Antonio Resquín coordinates a research team that has made an almost hundred times cheaper biomechanical arm that existing, the first of a series of innovations, such as wheelchairs, based on low cost.

The new prosthesis "made in Paraguay" developed from 3D printing, would be around $ 1,000, while titanium products, steel or aluminum that are manufactured in China, UK, Germany or the US They are approaching $ 100,000.

Still in prototype stage, the prosthesis stems from concern about the high cost of Resquín, 27 and coordinator of the Center for Innovation in Assisted Technologies (CITA) of the city of Hernandarias.

Resquín told Efe that knows from his own experience the novelty of creating an economically accessible to anyone with basic functions prosthesis.

"I am a person with physical disabilities who use prosthetic knees and I do not have the right arm. That was very important for me to work in the system motivation, and I knew that these prostheses on the market are very expensive, have a high cost and is hardly accessible to people of the country, "said Resquín.

Biomechanical arm is made of hard plastic as used for the LEGO toys and also has the advantage that to break any piece, manufactured by a new 3D printing can be again, which will avoid sending the prosthesis to repair his country of origin, with the cost that this entails.

"Our goal is to develop a really useful, comfortable, lightweight prostheses and that is functional, meeting all the functions of a hand, but will never achieve the functionality of a natural hand," said the engineer.

He added that the prosthesis is attached to the body through a vacuum system and works through sensors placed on the skin that detect myoelectric muscle signals sent by the brain, generating basic movements in the biomechanical arm.

"The prosthesis has basic functions of pliers, fine and coarse grip strength ... movements that are most commonly used in day to day," said Resquín.

The engineer focused the project on the adaptability of the prosthesis to the body of the person, but also looking at your country, where for years there have been shooting accidents motorcycles, motor vehicle most used by the Paraguayans because of its affordable price .

These accidents, according Resquín, causing a large number of amputations among the victims who are mostly lower class and can not afford a metal prosthesis.

"If the project generated a very complex arm, super innovative in the sense of the complexity of technology, we would go to a very high price and it would be unfeasible its application to Paraguay," said the engineer.

Resquín noted that this problem exists in the South American country has led them to create a line of work to develop more prototypes for other disabilities.

"It will not be an isolated (...) project, now wheelchairs are developing low-cost wheelchairs system" interface "man-machine wheelchair handling not necessarily with the" joysticks "and computer with some degree of accessibility software, "he said.

Resquín said that another purpose of these economically affordable projects are aimed to overcome the "emotional shock and psychological frustration" that prevents progress to people suffering amputation.

"From experience, people who lose any member what they want most is to re-appear as they were before," said Resquín.

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