The Prosthetic hand of MUJ and Piltover will complete the dreams of poor, disabled people
– Manan and his team created this hand with the inspiration of MUJ President, Prof. Sandeep Sancheti, and Pro-President, Prof. N. N. Sharma
– D.R. Mehta from Jaipur Foot and Chairman, Manipal Global Education T. V. Mohandas Pai also congratulated
Differently abled men and women deprived of one or both of their hands can now securely hope to live healthy lives again. Piltover Technologies has developed a product which equips amputees worldwide with prosthetic arms. Their unique partnership with Manipal University Jaipur not only gives it the opportunity to propel their research and development ahead by leveraging the world-class facilities at Manipal University Jaipur but also grants it access to a host of capable interns that has helped get the product off the ground.
In Rural India, around 11.4 Lakh Indians experience disability in their arms and about 6.4 Lakh Indians undergo amputation in their arms below the elbow. High utility prosthetic hands priced unaffordable and low-cost options offer limited functionality. The average price of top utility functional prosthetic hands can be anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000, more than ten times the average annual income of 75% of the rural population.
This reality acutely distressed Team Piltover and was the primary motivation behind the company’s flagship product – Qi: The low-cost high-utility Prosthetic Hand.
Under the earnest guidance of Dr. N.N. Sharma, dean of the faculty of engineering and Awdesh Kumar, professor, and dean of affairs and provost at Manipal University Jaipur, the prototype transformed into a product. Manipal University Jaipur’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sandeep Sancheti, over-looked the project and mentored the team to reach its goals. Chairperson MUJ, Prof. K. Ram Narayan, Chairman, Manipal Global Education Group, T.V. Mohandas Pai and D. R. Mehta from Jaipur Foot also congratulated to Manan and his team for the same.
The result contrasted sharply with other similar products in both cost and caliber. Following is the overview of the Piltover prosthetic hands:
- Qi: The Mechanical hand: $150-$200: It consists of a self-locking knob mechanism to allow the user to perform a firm grip on the object he/she is holding with an adaptive grip feature.
- [Qi]2: The Electrical hand: Uses buttons for tactile feedback and allows the user to attain individual finger movements and perform various gestures.
- [Qi]3: The Myoelectric hand: It uses EMGs which uses muscle signals to put the prosthetic hand in motion.
Core Features of the hand
- Movable Thumb: An 80-degree movable thumb empowers the user to carry out various grips
- Movable Wrist: A 180-degree movable wrist allows the user to rotate their wrist in tasks that require the same
- Adaptive Grip: Our product allows the user to enjoy a firm grip on objects
- Self-Locking Knob Mechanism : The self-locking knob mechanism allows the user to maintain and lock the hand’s desired position without any continuous force
- Lightweight: Our arm weighs only 750g making it easier for the user to maintain
- Natural Design: Our aesthetic design holds a close resemblance to the human hand
- Flexion-Hyperextension: The flexion-hyperextension feature allows the user to hold objects in multiple phases as a part of the wrist movement.
It would be an understatement to say that the Prosthetic Hand is merely a remarkable piece of engineering. It’s got a modular design due to which maintenance becomes very easy, and the repairs and upgrades do not cost much. Along with the hand, we provide the users with several add-ons which clamp onto the prosthetic hand and enhance specific tasks, creating immense possibilities (Picture describing the following add-ons). Also, at Piltover Technologies, we have found ways to tackle one of the most significant problems put forward to us by the doctors at BMVSS (Jaipur Foot) which is the psychological barrier that the patients have after an accident that instigates resistance towards adaptation of any prosthesis. To eradicate the problem, we have come up with a theory we refer to as ‘The Box Theory.'
“Whenever a person amputated, there is a drastic fall of self-confidence and hope in the patient's life. A significant psychological barrier prevents the patient from getting comfortable with any treatment. Patients usually report feeling uncomfortable with the prosthesis provided to them and doctors explain this as more of a psychological barrier. To continue with the treatment, the doctors have to train the patients psychologically and prepare them to be hopeful about the prosthesis provided to them. This training period could vary from anywhere between 2 months to a year depending on different individuals.
At Piltover Technologies, we have come up with a theory called ‘The Box Theory,' to tackle the same. We provide the patient with a box instead of a prosthesis alone. The box contains the prosthetic hand, various add-ons, an instruction manual and an information manual. The add-ons are small accessories that allow the prosthetic hand to perform task-specific functions more efficiently. The information manual and the instruction manual help the patient understand the prosthetic hand and its add-ons better. The instruction manual and the information manual have been carefully designed avoiding the use of terms such as ‘patient,' ‘treatment,' etc.
By doing all the above, we want the patient to feel like he/she has procured a gadget rather than feeling as if he/she is undergoing treatment. With the presence of various add-ons and the manuals, the patient would be interested in trying the possibilities of the content in the box in comparison to the resistance they display towards prosthesis otherwise, hence rooting out the psychological phase of treatment which otherwise acts as a hindrance.”
-Mr. Manan Issar, Chief Executive Officer
Team Piltover has put significant efforts behind gaining insights into the broad variety of daily needs of people. It was found that while each model of the Prosthetic Hand was exceptionally capable by itself, it was still not as useful in daily life as a natural human hand.
Then, the idea of making add-ons available with the Prosthetic Hand struck Team Piltover. The add-ons add to the user experience by allowing the user to perform specific tasks which are otherwise difficult to do
- Grip it up
Allows a user to hold small diameter objects such as a pen, spoon, toothbrush, etc.
Enables the user to hold a torch of any size
- Tool Holder
Allows the user to fasten the grip while using tools such as a hammer, screwdriver, etc.
Allows the user to lift objects with smooth surfaces with ease
Assists the user to hold a book while reading or flipping pages with no effort
One of the main ways in which the Prosthetic Hand stands out when compared to other prosthetics in the market is by offering an excellent practical performance at an economical price. It is this genuine commitment to engineering only the most effective solutions that led to Piltover’s achievements so far.
To top it off, Mr. Anil Kumar Gupta, an internationally renowned scholar in the field of grassroots innovation and also the founder of the Honey Bee Network, had one look at the prosthetic hand and soon took to Twitter to make the world aware of it.
By this point of time, it is the firm perspective of tech experts that Piltover’s Prosthetic Hand is a futuristic amalgamation of excellence and affordability. Closer home, Mr. Manan Issar, CEO of Piltover Technologies, says, “Considering the feedback from experts, I am quite logically optimistic that even more people are going to be empowered by the mighty leap of tech-sophistication, effectiveness, and innovation that Piltover's Prosthetic Hand could bring to their lives.
Piltover’s Prosthetic Hand is currently in the final stages of product development, and Team Piltover has initiated pilots with robust, established entities such as BMVSS (popularly known as ‘Jaipur Foot') with the aid of Rotary Jaipur and Manipal University Jaipur. As for the immediate future, Piltover is planning to provide Prosthetic Hands to Jaipur Foot, the world’s largest non-profit for the disabled. Moreover, they intend to improve the livelihood of women in the villages by employing them for product assembly and offering them salaries much above the average income in Rural India. Hence, the venture creates social impact not only through the products they build but also through the way they carry out the business operations.
This initiative has proven to be sincere and passionate at every step of the way. If this young Jaipur team continues to embody and exhibit the kind of commitment that it has until now, there is a genuinely significant probability that it will succeed in its mission.
Dr. Ramesh Kumar Rawat
Associate Professor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication
Manipal University Jaipur