Leading the world with African prosthetic innovations
Touch Prosthetics seeks to drive the prosthetics field forward and make the technology more accessible to the general public. This will be achieved through the production of low-cost, modular advanced prosthetics with the aid of advanced 3D printing. The Touch Hand is 10 times more affordable than similar hands on the market. Touch Hands allow for simple and affordable upgrades while also introducing new sensory feedback and advanced control features.
The lack of sensory feedback is the greatest limitation in modern prosthetics. Amputees miss being able to touch and feel their environment and loved ones. Our innovative sensory feedback solution will restore the sense of touch without the need for surgery. Our modular design will ensure that advanced prosthetics are affordable by selling each additional feature separately, allowing an amputee to upgrade his/her hand instead of buying a new one.
Touch Prosthetics is a spin-off of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is based in Durban, South Africa.
Drew van der Riet, Creator.
Drew has always been a big dreamer. In 2011 after graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Mechatronics at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, he decided to challenge himself in a new way and spent the next 2 years travelling the world and teaching English.
Drew has always been inspired to help people reach their full potential, and what better way than combining his creative thinking and skill in robotics to do it. Touch Prosthetics was born during his MSc at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2013. The dream for the company is to give amputees the tools they need to live their lives to the fullest, through advanced yet affordable prosthetics.
Drew dreams of a world where robots will become an extension of ourselves, allowing us to conquer the impossible.
Riaan Stopforth, Navigator
Riaan is our navigator, cutting through the red tape and leading the team through the legal labyrinths. He graduated with a B.Sc. Eng (Electronics), M.Sc. (Computer Science) and Ph.D. Eng (Mechanical) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, who has specialized in the field of Mechatronics Engineering.
His research interest is in the area of search and rescue robotics and bio-engineering systems. He has an interest in electronics, radio communication, network security and brainstorming for innovative ideas and concepts.
He is currently appointed as an Associated Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His favourite saying at the end of a long working day is, “Engineering is all the fun I need.” His research portfolio and extensive experience can be viewed at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Riaan_Stopforth
Andrew Mangezi, Designer.
Growing up in Zimbabwe, Andrew was well aware of the challenges poverty places on people. His interest in electronics blossomed during his high school years. It was the time when technology had begun to make an impact on the lives of people in Zimbabwe. Wanting to play a role in improving people’s lives, electrical engineering was an obvious choice for him.
In 2011, He was awarded a Zimbabwean Presidential scholarship to study a BSc in Electronic Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Andrew has been inspired by how electronics occurs everywhere in modern day life, knowing that he now holds the power to make the world a better place! In 2015, he joined Touch Prosthetics as an MSc student in Bio-Mechatronics.
He sees his masters as a major logical step to sharpen his engineering skills and to help amputees through the Touch Hand. Andrew is working on improving on the Touch Hand following biologically inspired principles and transforming the Touch Hand into a truly modular design. He believes real-world problems can be solved using engineering’s own analytical and synthetic methodologies.
Riaan Fourie, Designer
Riaan has a BSc(Eng) in Mechanical Engineering from UKZN and is a master CAD designed with experience working in industry using various packages. Since he was young, Riaan has always had a fascination with the human body and how it works. After graduating from university, he realised that he now has the skills required to design hands! Joining Touch Prosthetics in 2015 as an MSc student is the perfect transition as now he gets to not only do cool stuff, but directly help people with his work as well.
Through working at Touch Prosthetics, he is aiming at further refining his killer design skills and adding many new skills to his collection. His work at Touch Prosthetics focuses on refining the mechanical design of the Touch Hand, allowing it to be low-cost, easy to use and quick to repair, while still keeping it stylish! This is no easy feat, but Riaan lives for the challenge that comes with designing artificial hands!
Redefining what’s possible, giving people the tools to shape their own destiny. It is undisputed that technology is empowering people to do more and to enjoy a higher quality of life. At Touch Prosthetics, we believe in making today’s technology accessible to those who need it most.
We strive to design low-cost, user-friendly products that keep the amputee’s at the heart of everything we do.