Published on April 10th, 2017 | by Geetika Bhasin
Rwanda girl receives 2017 OZY Genius Award for developing 3D printed prosthetic sockets
Claudine Humure of Wheaton College has received the 2017 OZY Genius Award for her 3D printed prosthetic socket. This award is funded by the OZY Media to acclaim upcoming innovations and talents in various fields. They provide as much as $10000 for 10 college students who have designed innovative products.
A 24-year old Rwandan student at Wheaton College in Illinois, Humure is currently engaged in a biomechatronics research internship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab. The 3D printed prosthetic socket is designed keeping in mind the amputees in developing countries who have affordability issues.
Humure has a story that was pivotal in making her this young achiever. At the age of 12, she lost her leg to Rwandan Genocide and it was then that she realized the plight of people suffering from amputated limbs. In an operation, her leg was amputated and then, Humure was flown to Boston by an American charity for further treatment. She was provided chemotherapy and further surgeries were performed to prepare her leg for a prosthetic. After almost a year of recovery, she was back home with an artificial leg. The trouble started when the prosthetic broke and Humure had a tough time finding a new prosthetic leg in the country.
She had realized the importance of a good-fitting prosthetic and how close to a normal life it could provide. Humure returned back to the US to study about prosthetics. She completed her final high school project on prosthetic limbs; Humure went on to volunteer at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. There, working with victims of 2013 marathon bombing, her beliefs on her research work were further reconsolidated.
The revolutionary change came when Humure was introduced to the world of 3D printing by Hugh Herr, an amputee himself. Humure eventually started designing and 3D printing an adjustable socket that connects the remaining part of her limb to her prosthetic, a typical area of discomfort for prosthetic-wearer.
Humure has been working ever since to make the prosthetics lighter, cheaper and more comfortable. In the long run, she plans to open clinics in Rwanda and other African countries.