Projeto Mão Dada
Mão Dada translates to mean both giving hands and holding hands. We use 3D printing to provide affordable and custom-designed prosthetics to low-income children.
In Brazil today, prosthetics are a luxury most people can’t afford. Ninety percent of the physically disabled population would have to give up a year’s income to purchase the simplest devices. Many people in low-income households are resigned to not using any prostheses, facing bullying and compromising their health and mobility. For children, it is even more difficult because they are growing and therefore need prosthetics that can be replaced and modified as they grow.
Our goal: to build an adjustable and affordable hand prosthetic that adequately fits a diverse array of shapes and sizes with minor modifications that the user can make themselves.
With low costs and free design files online, 3D printing has the exciting potential to revolutionize and democratize technology.
In launching this initiative, I have worked with occupational therapists, doctors, hospital directors, university administrators, students, and, most importantly, children and families who provide invaluable insights. More than just providing healthcare, I want to give these children -- often treated as invisible or disfigured by society -- respect, voice, and power.
Mão Dada has completely changed the way I perceive prosthetics and has been an amazing opportunity to lead a multidisciplinary team in a project that I am passionate about.
The evolution of Vini's Prosthetics
Márcio Vinícius (aka Vini) was our first partner in testing the devices. He and his mother came to us looking into a prosthetic option that fit their budget. The first designs build for Vini were based on popular 3D printed files available online. We sought a deep understanding of each device - in technical term as well as Vini's perception of them - in order to identify areas for improvement
Current 3D files available online assume that the child's arm grows proportionally to the hand and that the ratio between body parts is the same for every user. We found this was a problem for our users, so we set out to design a modular structure. Offering various different sized pieces allows for better sizing and fit.
Leading Mão Dada has been an invaluable opportunity in developing leadership and management skills. I direct the team in brainstorming and trouble-shooting discussions, using management strategies I learned at the Unleashed conference, researched at university, and have experienced in my professional work.
To support initial research and development, I launched a crowdfunding campaign and raised $10,000 USD. Crowdfunding is a useful tool, but it is very important to me that the organization become financially sustainable so that it does not rely on potentially inconsistent volunteer contributions.
If we want to make a lasting change, we need to create a lasting organization.
Building off of the successful crowdfunding campaign, we are nearly finished with a new prototype that uses alluminum for a modular elbow hinge. I am now working to make the organization financially independent