Shabana (pseudonym) recently experienced a breakthrough in her recovery when she regained movement in her hand for the first time since her accident. Using a 3D printed prosthetic, she now has a new hand made of synthetic material tailored to fit her body.
This innovative prosthetic, which does not rely on electronic components, is one of the first of its kind in Pakistan.
The project came about after Dr. Hassan Zahid, who had witnessed the devastating impact of amputations during his travels abroad, expressed his concern about the lack of affordable prosthetics in Pakistan.
In an interview with The Dawn, a Pakistan-based daily, he believed that the emerging technology of 3D printing could offer a solution to reintegrate amputees into society. Driven by this vision, he shared his idea with Rabi Imran, a young engineer he met in his neighborhood.
Rabi was inspired by the concept and decided to dedicate himself to the project. He formed a team and contacted hospitals and medical professionals to explain the potential of 3D-printed prosthetics in Pakistan.
He also sought guidance from the e-NABLE community, a global open-source 3D printing network, to refine his approach. With Asad Jabbar, Rabi co-founded Grit 3D and successfully pitched their idea to The Nest i/o startup incubator, providing them with valuable resources and support.
To make their idea a reality and create a strong case study, Grit 3D needed candidates to test their prosthetic hands.
They found a suitable candidate in Shabana, a young woman from rural Sindh who had suffered a severe hand injury in an accident. On April 12, after months of planning and designing, Grit 3D installed its first 3D-printed prosthetic hand for Shabana.
With her new prosthetic hand, Shabana will soon regain the ability to perform everyday tasks such as stitching and sewing.
While individual finger movement is not possible, the prosthetic enables her to handle most daily activities. Grit 3D has plans to develop more advanced prosthetics, including those with electronic signals that allow amputees to control each finger’s movement using their muscles.
They also hope to explore lower limb prosthetics as 3D printing technology becomes more affordable.
Although there is no pricing model yet, they aim for hospitals to purchase prosthetics and provide them to patients free of charge. The startup is currently in discussions with various healthcare facilities nationwide to familiarize them with their mission.
Shabana’s success story is a testament to the transformative potential of 3D-printed prosthetics in improving the lives of amputees in Pakistan and other war-torn regions. Through the dedication and innovation of projects like Grit 3D, access to affordable prosthetics may become a reality for many in need.