As of Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 Touch Prosthetics became a welcomed South African company. The TLC put into this venture of Drew’s has given the project wings to succeed in the entrepreneurial world of business.
We want to share Drew’s love affair with Touch Prosthetics to the techiest of people, as well as those who think engineering talk sounds like a second language called gibberish. This project is not just a technological one. It’s a human one; where their redefining what’s possible by constructing a low-cost prosthetic hand that’s meant to touch lives. (Literally!)
Who: Drew, alongside professor Riaan. Drew wanted to use his skills in robotics to help others and thus started his MSc under the supervision of professor Riaan, who was conducting research in medical robotic applications at the time. With their combined skills and background knowledge of medical devices, they envisioned the Touch Hand.
What: The Touch Hand. Faced with a limited budget, Drew undertook the challenge of designing a prosthetic hand that had the functionality of a R300,000 hand for under R30,000. In due time, the Touch Hand was born; a low-cost prosthetic hand that represented a major step forward in the prosthetic industry. His genius hand allows amputees to take control of exactly what features he or she wants, while also creating a platform that is forward compatible, allowing for state-of-the-art technologies such as sensory feedback.
Where: UKZN. Drew conducted his MSc research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Sympathizing with amputees, he realized that there was great need for the Touch Hand, not only in South Africa, but around the world.
When: A work in progress. The first prototype was completed at the end of 2013. Since then, Drew and his team have been hard at work on the 2nd prototype, which is scheduled for completion in April. Touch Prosthetics plans to make these hands available to a limited number of amputee’s through a crowdfunding campaign in May 2015.
Why: Why not? Touch Prosthetics is a team of dreamers trying to make a small difference doin’ what they do best! “Hands that Touch Lives 2015.”