Victoria Hand Project CEO Michael Peirone and mechanical systems designer Kim Arklie hold 3D-printed prosthetic arms similar to those distributed worldwide by the UVic-based non-profit. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)

Victoria Hand Project CEO Michael Peirone and mechanical systems designer Kim Arklie hold 3D-printed prosthetic arms similar to those distributed worldwide by the UVic-based non-profit. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)

Victoria Hand Project trying to share prosthetic technology with Ukraine

Team of UVic-based engineers call for support to send 3D printers to war-torn country

Victoria Hand Project is looking for ways to put prosthetic care within reach for those affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Since 2015 the non-profit organization, based out of UVic’s engineering lab wing, has been working to provide 3D-printed prosthetics to amputees in developing countries with little to no access. It has partnered with healthcare providers in 10 countries around the world, including Canada and the U.S.

Now the charity is working to get their 3D printers inside Ukrainian clinics and medical centres as quickly as possible. They’ve already been coordinating with contacts on the ground in Kyiv in an effort to reach out to potential patients, clinical professionals and donors willing to give to the cause.

Back in the lab, CEO Michael Peirone and mechanical systems designer Kim Arklie explained the advantages of their 3D-printed prosthetic arms – and why they could have a significant impact in a devastated Ukraine. They’re inexpensive when compared to traditional prosthetics and 3D printing allows the devices to be created on demand and in-country.

“One of the big things is just the accessibility of some of these components. With traditional prosthetics, when they need those components they need to order them from other countries which can be time-consuming and expensive,” Peirone said.

The question of funding remains, however.

“We’ve been trying to search for funding – for the equipment, paying people on the ground, the materials and supplies and everything like that. Once we do have that set and secure it could be a matter of weeks,” he said.

But it’s likely it’ll be longer before printing is underway in Ukraine.

“It all depends on the support that we can receive.”

For more information on the project or to donate, visit victoriahandproject.com.

READ MORE: Greater Victoria man keeps flower flag alive with message for Ukraine



austin.westphal@saanichnews.com

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