Jaipur foot Making big strides

Jaipur foot   Making big strides Over three decades, the Jaipur Foot has benefited more than 300,000 people, reached 22 countries and
is set to undergo a transformation.
vibha varshney travels to Jaipur to measure the progress

For over 30 years it has been changing people's lives, helping them stand on their feet. Now the Jaipur Foot itself is poised to get a leg up. Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (bmvss), an ngo that makes the famous life-like foot, is collaborating with the Indian Space Research Organisation (isro) to improve the prosthesis by using new technology and material.

A polyurethene foot will soon replace the rubber foot bmvss has been manufacturing since 1975. The new foot made of the synthetically produced polymer will be cheaper and lighter.Machinery has been put installed for making the polyurethene foot but full-scale production will begin only after trials. For making the limb cast, the organization is introducing the sand-casting method, an advancement over manual casting, provided free by the Center for International Rehabilitation, usa. This method helps in fitting the limb more quickly. Using the existing technique it takes half an hour to make a plaster-of-Paris cast manually. With sand-casting this can be done in five minutes. The limb is put inside a bag filled with sand and a vacuum-creating device attached to the bag is turned on. This forces sand particles to stick around the limb and the cast is ready. This method can boost production from 50-100 pieces a day to 1,000-2,000 pieces. Collaborations are also on with Stanford University, usa, to modify the joint in the above-knee prosthetic limb to bring down its cost.

The Jaipur Foot is also taking its first steps towards getting regulatory approval. Though widely used, the foot has remained a piece of handicraft and is not recognized as a medical device. The isro technology will help computerize and standardize the process