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Times of India
18 September 2010
Chennai, India

IIT Alumni Project: Adjustable Calipers For Polio-affected
Polio–affected children requiring calipers may soon heave a sigh of relief, thanks to a project funded by the 1981 batch of IIT–Madras alumni. Adjustable leg braces developed by students and faculty from the department of mechanical engineering have been readied and sent for field testing to the Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), an NGO in Jaipur. The organisation pioneered the ‘Jaipur Foot’, a multi–flex device closest to the human foot in functional terms. It is one of 10 socially relevant projects (SRP) funded by the alumni of the institution (batches of 1967 and 1981).

According to Mayank Pareek, who worked on the project under the guidance of Dr Sujatha Srinivasan from the department of mechanical engineering, these can be used by individuals with cerebral palsy and those affected by trauma as well. The length adjustability from the knee joint to the foot and the thigh to the knee joint was brought about by using a telescopic linkage, he added.

"We can also bring down the production time with this. Normally, people who visit the camps are asked to come back for being fitted with the braces the next day. However, we have developed them so that they are available in small, medium and large sizes which can be adjusted within just 35 minutes. If a child finds he has outgrown the braces, they can be adjusted to the right size at home instead of coming again for a new fitting," Pareek said.

While the cost of production for the existing style of calipers or orthoses was Rs 1,100 for the NGO, Pareek said that the adjustment would add only a sum of Rs 50 to the manufacturing cost. The entire philosophy document on how to manufacture product based on the design on a large scale has been handed over to the BMVSS.

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