This class is a case study in impact design that shares the story of Nia Technologies and its response to the challenge of limited access to mobility prosthetics in developing countries. With insights from Nia’s clinical trials in Uganda, attendees will learn how to apply “appropriate technology” design principles to solve real-world problems. Based on these principles, Nia is capitalizing on low-cost “maker” technologies, including open-source hardware and inexpensive software, to address the severe lack of affordable, well-fitting prosthetics in developing countries. Learn how Nia uses Fusion 360 software, the Meshmixer API, and other custom applications to streamline the 3D design process, empowering clinicians to scan, design, and 3D print high-quality, affordable, better-fitting prosthetic devices much faster than can be done with manual processes. Learn about the process and outcomes of Nia’s work, and the importance of linking social insight with design to create sustainable technological interventions. This session features Fusion 360.
- Understand concepts of impact design applied to developing-world contexts
- Learn how to create socially responsible technology solutions
- Understand the design challenges inherent in making 3D-printed lower-limb prosthetic sockets
- Learn how 3D scanning, Fusion 360, Meshmixer API, and custom software are being used to develop custom prosthetic sockets
Matt Ratto is the chief science officer of Nia Technologies Inc., a social enterprise that develops and deploys digital orthopedic solutions in partnership with cbm Canada; Autodesk, Inc.; University of Toronto; and clinical partners in developing countries—with funding from Autodesk Foundation and others. Ratto collaborates with orthopedic specialists and CAD/CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) experts, and he is part of a 3D-printing research consortium. He is an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information, and he directs the Semaphore Research Cluster on Inclusive Design, Mobile, and Pervasive Computing. Ratto is an expert on 3D printing and digital fabrication, having carried out research on this topic since 2009. He is the author of peer-reviewed books and journal articles about critical making and social change. His current research is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation; the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science; and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.