Center for International Stabilization & Recovery

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Posts tagged "Prosthetics"

One in 30 Syrian refugees in Lebanon was injured in the civil war

Some 200,000 people have died in Syria’s ongoing civil war—and there’s no end in sight. But it’s the impact on those who make it out alive and injured—often severely—that can sometimes be forgotten.

More than 3 million Syrians are registered as refugees outside their home country, the latest U.N. figures show. Turkey, Iraq and Jordan have all taken in hundreds of thousands of them, but nearly 1.2 million have crossed into Lebanon. According to an April report by Handicap International, one in 30 Syrian refugees in Lebanon had been injured, which means that tens of thousands of people there are carrying permanent scars from the war.

Irish photographer Andrew McConnell has been based in Beirut for about two and a half years. During that time he has frequently photographed along the Syrian border and covered the refugee crisis in Lebanon from its earliest stages, watching the numbers grow from a few thousand refugees largely hidden in society to a mass that is now equal to more than a fifth of Lebanon’s pre-war population, spread throughout urban areas and informal settlements.

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Motala the Elephant

Motala is a 50 year old elephant from Thailand who lost her front left leg in 1999 after stepping on a land mine that was left over from the Burmese-Thai war. When the accident occurred Motala was a working elephant who moved trees and was wandering through the forest looking for food on her lunch break.

Unfortunately, Motala’s leg was so badly damaged that it had to be amputated below the knee. It wasn’t until 2006 that she was able to receive her first artificial leg, and then not until 2009 that Motala received her first permanent prosthesis. It took tremendous effort to get a prosthetic leg for Motala as there had never been one made for an elephant before.

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Denis Aabo Sørensen lost his left hand nine years ago, while handling fireworks. Since then, he has used prosthetic hands, but never one like this. Last year, a team of European engineers created for him a prosthetic hand that connects directly to the remaining nerves in his upper arm. That means the hand is able to send sensations of touch back through his arm and into his brain. Plus, when Sørensen wanted to grab something, he could move the hand by simply thinking about it.

"The sensory feedback was incredible," Sørensen said in a statement. "When I held an object, I could feel if it was soft or hard, round or square."

"I could feel things that I hadn’t been able to feel in over nine years," he said.

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The Control Group lends a helping hand to amputees

There are more than 300,000 victims of land mines and 20 percent of them are children. The Control Group, a Pacific Beach based tech company, recently took a break and built prosthetic hands for the amputees who need them.

"Excited is definitely the right word for it," said Sean Shahrokhi of the Control Group. “For the most part we’re sitting there in a very virtual environment. This is something that is actually tangible, we can hand it over to someone … There’s a little bit of magic to that.”

Each hand begins as 30 pieces of metal and plastic. Over the course of a couple of hours, it will turn into a prosthetic hand that can grip tightly enough to hold a pen, and has a wide enough grasp to grab an arm. The teams of employees who build the prosthetics wear blue mitts on one hand — so they can experience the difficulty many of these land mine victims can experience performing basic tasks.

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A company called Not Impossible Labs has come up with one of the best uses for 3D printer technology we’ve ever heard of: printing low-cost prosthetic arms for people, mainly children, who have lost limbs in the war-torn country of Sudan.

The project was the brain child of Mick Ebeling, founder of Not Impossible, a company dedicated to “technology for the sake of humanity.” Not Impossible is probably best known for its "Eyewriter" eye tracking glasses, created with free open source software, that helped a paralyzed graffiti artist draw and communicate using only his eyes.

Project Daniel started in 2012, when Ebeling read a story in Time magazine about Daniel Omar, a then 14-year-old Sudanese boy who lost both his hands from a bomb.


Mainstreaming disability with artistic artificial limbs



London (CNN) — With her flaming red hair, Marilyn Monroe figure, and lurid green snake casually coiled around the arm, Jo-Jo Cranfield looks like a real-life muse emerging from a Salvador Dali painting.

It’s impossible not to stare at the neon python on her left wrist. But take a closer look and you’ll discover that the reptile slithers in and out of the flesh like a psychedelic needle and thread.

Cranfield is an amputee. And her fantastical arm — described as everything from cool to creepy, and erotic — is the work of a London designer reinventing the way we see prosthetic limbs.

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CISR is gearing up for International Day for Mine Awareness. Lend Your Leg on April 4!

The metal on Zac Vawter’s bionic leg gleamed as he climbed the 103 floors of Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower, becoming the first person ever to complete the task wearing a mind-controlled prosthetic limb.

Vawter, who lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident, put the smart limb on public display for the first time during an annual stair-climbing charity event called “SkyRise Chicago” hosted by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where he is receiving treatment.

“Everything went great,” said Vawter at the event’s end. “The prosthetic leg did its part, and I did my part.”

The leg is designed to respond to electrical impulses from muscles in his hamstring. When Vawter thought about climbing the stairs, the motors, belts and chains in his leg synchronized the movements of its ankle and knee.

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(Photo courtesy Healing Hands project)

Did you know there’s around 2,000 landmine accidents a month in around 60 countries and that 20 percent of the 300,000 landmine amputees around the world are children? So what’s the connection then between land mines and workplace team building exercises in Australia? A new project has been launched called “Helping Hands" and in your workplace you can build prosthetic hands for victims of landmines. Annie Gaffney spoke with Matt Henricks, an organisational psychologist, and started by asking him how this project came about in Australia.

CISR Director, Ken Rutherford, meets with a prosthetic client in Vietnam in March 2012Danang City, Vietnam - March 9

My colleague, Trauma Rehabilitation Specialist, Cameron Macauley from the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) at James Madison University, and I had the good fortune to participate in a mass fitting for amputees in Tam Ky, Vietnam.When we arrived, some 200 men and women were awaiting their turns to have plaster casts made which would then be used to manufacture new, durable and very comfortable prostheses. They removed their old prostheses and I was astonished by these ancient, hand-made artificial legs constructed of wood, rubber, wire and cloth. Most of them had broken and had been repaired numerous times.

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