3D printing in LMICs: functional design for upper limb prosthetics in Uganda

Ali Murtuza Hussaini, Peter Kyberd, Benedict Mulindwa, Robert Ssekitoleko, William Malcolm Keeble, Laurence Kenny, David Howard

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Meeting the needs of persons with upper limb loss in Uganda requires an understanding of the needs and desires of the local population. The limitations of resources and accessibility for the individual gave rise to a focused design methodology for delivering a culturally acceptable solution using 3D Printing technology. A series of co-design activities were held in Uganda and provided direct feedback to drive the design of two prototypes based on acceptable aesthetics and priority Activities of Daily Living. Two terminal device prototypes were 3D printed in the UK. These can be directly attached to a standard proximal socket thread. The passive hand was printed in a flexible filament and the prehensor was printed in a durable impact resistant material. Local researchers in Uganda have similar 3D printers, filaments, and assembly hardware, which allowed for concurrent development and refinement of the prototypes. Local participation provides a rich user feedback environment to understand which elements of prosthetic device design are integral to delivering acceptable prosthetics solutions for fabrication in Uganda. 3D printing can provide a viable route to addressing the needs of the user. The proposed terminal devices are now in the process of being printed locally for field testing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-147
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • 3D printing
  • upper limb prosthesis
  • terminal device
  • passive device
  • cosmesis
  • functional prosthesis
  • body powered
  • LMIC
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • co-design

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