The stark reality is that today, only around 10% of the 1 billion or so people in need of assistive technologies have access. By 2050 the World Health Organisation estimate that the number of people needing assistive technologies will have doubled to 2 billion. There are many reasons for this, including a lack of investment in rehabilitation services by governments in lower and middle income countries, and a focus for many manufacturers on high-cost devices. We are addressing a number of problems in this complex area, with a focus on prosthetics. Firstly, we are developing prosthetic designs which may be not only lower cost to produce, but also potentially easier to fit and repairable local to where the patient lives. Secondly, by working with colleagues from social sciences and elsewhere, we have begun to unpick some of the challenges around delivering prosthetic services in lower and middle income settings. These include finance models and supply chain issues. Finally, we are developing digital technologies to capture the real-world use of prostheses in everyday life and the impact these have on people’s lives. Such technologies have the potential to revolutionise how we evaluate prostheses, providing rich and easy-to-gather, low-cost data on the reality of how people interact with their devices in everyday life.
Click the links below to learn more about projects in this area.