Affordable help for amputees: ReMotion Knee

December 20, 2013

ReMotion Knee is one of the winning solutions of the “empowering people. Award”. It is an affordable, polycentric prosthetic knee designed for amputees in developing countries. D-Rev (Design Revolution) developed the ReMotion Knee by using durable, polymer-based materials with a proven polycentric mechanism instead of the typical steel or titanium, thus making it exceptional in both manufacturability and usability.

empowering people. Award (epA): The ReMotion Knee is one of the lightest knees on the market, has a large range of motion and a lifespan similar to existing products, but it is far less expensive. D-Rev is actually putting a lot of competitive pressure on existing commercial producers. Do you see any effects of your work in this area?

Samuel Hamner: D-Rev’s goal for all of our products is to ensure that everyone, no matter where they are born, has access to high-quality medical devices that can dramatically improve their lives. We would love to see a shift in the prosthetics and orthotics industry that reduces barriers to access of mobility devices. In the next few years, I hope that we help to create a global supply chain allowing a clinic anywhere in the world to easily purchase high-quality, affordable orthotics and prosthetics. Ultimately, our goal is that above-knee amputees living in developing countries are remobilized at rates that match affluent economies.

epA: Sam, D-Rev has been awarded for the Remotion Knee V2 in the “empowering people. Award”, but by the time of the Award Ceremony you had already released the ReMotion Knee V3 which looks like you have completely revised your former design. What is the difference and why did you work on a new version?

Samuel Hamner: At D-Rev, we continuously work to improve on our products as we collect feedback from our patients, learn from prosthetists, and expand to new markets. Creating the v3 ReMotion Knee was important because it allows us to shift our manufacturing process from CNC machining to injection molding. The first two versions were designed for low-volume, local manufacturing. With injection molding, the v3 ReMotion Knee can be centrally manufactured at high volumes while maintaining rigorous quality control.
The v3 is also a sleeker, lighter design with a curved front that more closely mimics the look of a natural knee cap underneath pants and skirts. In many of the places we work there is a strong social stigma against amputees and people with disabilities. The unobtrusive profile of the v3 was critical improvement for many of our users.

epA: This means that you are almost at the stage of large scale production, right?

Samuel Hamner: We are entering the final stage of development, and plan to mass produce the ReMotion Knee for global distribution by the end of 2014. Currently, we’re conducting longitudinal field trials with partner clinics in India, Indonesia, and Guatemala to vet the v3 design before we move into final production.

epA: Can you tell us a bit more about the other projects of D-Rev?

Samuel Hamner: D-Rev’s other main product is Brilliance, a phototherapy light to treat neonatal jaundice. Jaundice is the #1 reason why newborns are readmitted to hospitals worldwide and 16% of newborns have severe jaundice. If left untreated, severe jaundice can lead to permanent brain damage or even death. Brilliance entered the market in 2012 and retails for just $400 (as compared to comparable performing devices that sell for $3,000). This price point is driving Brilliance to create impact at hospitals that have never before had access to effective phototherapy. We have already seen units purchased and installed by hospitals in India, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, and the Philippines.

For more information, watch this TEDx Talk with Samuel Hamner and follow him on Twitter: @d_rev_org.

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Samuel Hamner
Samuel Hamner

Sam is motivated to design and implement solutions that reduce poverty, improve access to healthcare, and promote social justice. D-Rev’s combination of human-centered design, market-driven entrepreneurship, and dedication to sustainable impact made for a perfect fit. Before joining D-Rev, Sam earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University as part of the Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab, where he focused on understanding the principles of human movement through simulation. While at Stanford, Sam also co-founded The Pepper Eater, an affordable pepper grinder for women in rural Ethiopia that is now part of Compatible Technology International. Originally from Florida, Sam also has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida with minors in Material Science and Religious Studies.