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Artec 3D and Handicap International enter medical partnership

To customize medical devices for patients in Rwanda using 3D scanning and printing

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Artec 3D, a leading 3D scanning hardware and software developer, has partnered with Handicap International, an NGO fostering Humanity and Inclusion around the world, to customize medical devices for patients in Rwanda. Through the humanitarian project, medical staff have been trained by Artec experts to quickly, and easily measure arms, legs, and torsos using the world’s first wireless 3D scanner – the Artec Leo. With the resulting data, doctors plan to tailor orthotics, prosthetics, and supports to patients, in a way that’s less intrusive and better meets medical needs in remote locations – thanks to 3D printing.

Compared to a low-cost alternative scanner they initially experimented with, the staff has found Leo’s built-in display and battery easier to get to grips with and utilize in the field. Thanks to the speed, precision, and usability of their first two devices, the team has been able to deploy them almost straight away, improving their overall ROI.

Artec 3D and Handicap International enter medical partnership to customize medical devices in Rwanda using 3D scanning and printing.

“It’s remarkable to see how Artec 3D’s partnership with Handicap International is improving healthcare accessibility in Rwanda,” said Art Yukhin, CEO and President of Artec 3D. “Leveraging cutting-edge technology like the Artec Leo, with its ease of use and intuitive interface, creates a significant impact on the ground by empowering medical staff to provide tailored solutions efficiently, especially to those in remote areas. It’s heartening to witness technology being harnessed for such impactful humanitarian endeavors. Following the success of our initial project with HI, we hope to recreate such promising experiences in other regions.”

With training from the two Artec 3D experts flown out to help, the Rwandan team has quickly been able to begin digitizing anatomies with high accuracy and precision. “After a brief training session, they could start scanning immediately,” said Jerry Klein, one of Artec 3D’s project training experts. Having mastered data capture and processing over a five-day training program, and passed a troubleshooting test, the clinicians are confident and can move into end-use scenarios.

In the months ahead, they plan to create children’s prosthetics that can be iteratively 3D printed to ‘grow’ with them, as well as custom orthoses for more effective joint realignment.

Artec 3D and Handicap International enter medical partnership to customize medical devices in Rwanda using 3D scanning and printing.

“This technology covers all our prosthetic and orthotic needs,” said Robert Clement Hakorimana, Technical Project Manager at Handicap International. “Already, we have invited people from different hospitals to get them using this technology. We’ve also notified the Ministry of Health, so they can make it their own, and help disseminate it across the country.”

Backed by Luxembourg’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, the project will allow Handicap International to expand its growing charity network. From demining in Iraq to tackling climate change in Nepal, the organization is actively changing lives for the better around the world.

For their part, the Leo-trained team in Rwanda now intends to invest further in CAD modeling and 3D printing, as they bid to improve the reach of their country’s care system.

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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