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A Low-Cost Upper-Extremity Prosthetic Interface

Award Information

Department of Health and Human Services
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
ADA Technologies, Inc.
8100 Shaffer Parkway Suite #130 Littleton, CO -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: A Low-Cost Upper-Extremity Prosthetic Interface
Agency: HHS
Contract: 1R43HD060320-01
Award Amount: $150,379.00


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Remarkable advances in signal processing techniques, materials sciences, battery technologies, and computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) processes have led to significant developments in assi stive technologies. Coordinated research and commercialization have dramatically increased prosthetic function, utility, personalization, comfort-and unfortunately, cost. The initial cost of modern upper-extremity prostheses ranges from US 10,000 to US 40, 000 (excluding recurring costs for maintenance and repair), placing them well-beyond the economic reach of many amputees worldwide. The extensive customization required to create modern sockets is a large component of the initial and recurring cost; socket replacement and refitting is recommended every three to five years. The monetary cost of purchasing, repairing, and maintaining prostheses combined with a lack of clinical infrastructure in some countries precludes a large percentage of the world's ampute e population from accessing modern prosthetic technologies. In response to diverse patient needs, increasingly restrictive insurance regulations, and laws prohibiting the re-use of equipment, clinical prosthetists are faced with an urgent need for new pros thetic technologies that are 1) economically appropriate for disadvantaged persons, 2) designed to withstand repetitive rigorous use, and 3) easily fit on amputees without extensive customization. The critical element necessary to satisfy this need is an e conomically and technologically viable upper extremity socket (UES). Phase I of this proposed Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project is intended to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of creating a low-cost UES that can be easily adjusted to accommodate residual limb variations in shape and volume over a defined size range (representative of a selected quartile of amputees). Elastic, rigid, and compliant materials will be used to realize a design that remains stable and comfortable when used to support a load of 50 lbs during the performance of physically demanding activities such as lifting, pulling, and other actions commonly associated with farming, ranching, and manual labor. The design will be easily adjustable, able to be fit on individuals within one (1) hour, and will have a target manufacturing cost of US 50 or less. Phase II will encompass making design refinements identified in Phase I and using anthropometric principles and extensive data borrowed from the protective equi pment and garment industries to expand the basic socket design into a family of products covering four standard size ranges: small (S), medium (M), large (L), and extra-large (XL). In Phase III, manufacturing infrastructure will be established to support i ntroducing commercial product into the marketplace. This research effort has been intentionally formulated to address an important need revealed by the market, and to use NIH funding in a way that will significantly benefit disadvantaged men, women, and ch ildren in the United States and abroad who are affected by upper-limb deficiencies, in keeping with the spirit and purposes of the SBIR program. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Modern prosthetic sockets are highly functional, require extensive customization, and are prohibitively expensive for some individuals. A new prosthetic socket for the upper-extremities is being devised using advanced engineering methods and materials to realize appreciable cost savings. The socket requires negligible customization but del ivers essential function and stability, enabling disadvantaged amputees to perform physically demanding tasks associated with agricultural work and subsistence farming.

Principal Investigator:

Alwyn P. Johnson

Business Contact:

Sheryl L. Suhr
Small Business Information at Submission:


EIN/Tax ID: 840984053
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No