How can we provide prosthetics to the millions of amputees around the world who live in places with limited or no prosthetic clinics nearby?
Interaction Design, Service Design, UI/UX
Graduate Thesis, MFA Products of Design, School of Visual Arts, Guidance from Brent Arnold and Steven Dean, 2018
One of the biggest reasons for why people with limb loss have limited to prosthesis is because there aren't any prosthetists close to where they live. This was validated through research summarized below.
Many non-profit organizations around the world have developed different kinds of affordable devices and provide them for free or at a high subsidy. But this always involves the patient traveling to the prosthetic center, getting their socket made, testing for a few hours (or days), and then returning home. Some of the problems for the patient are: not enough time to test and adapt to the prosthesis, minimal after-care, limited physiotherapy, and limited long-term support, and usually, no focus on psychological aspects of living with an artificial limb. Given the challenges of obtaining transportation to remote treatment facilities in resource-limited settings, this often becomes a substantial barrier to obtaining treatment. To address these problems, I conceptualized a digital platform called Guide.
Guide is a digital platform that enables remote prosthetic service for people living in rural villages and towns around the world. It connects people with limb loss in remote areas to prosthetic clinics in urban centers through an app. Through partnerships with local grocery stores and the trucking companies that deliver goods to them daily, Guide leverages these existing infrastructures to transport the prostheses from an urban prosthetic clinic to smaller villages and towns. The app also helps create peer-to-peer support and learning among users. The systems map below gives an overview of all the stakeholders involved in the platform.
The storyboard below explains how the platform works in detail:
The user finds out about the app at the local hospital or through brochures at a local clinic.
Once the user downloads the app, they create a profile based on their specific impairment and the app gets tailored to them. Based on the user’s input, the app helps them connect to a mentor, either local or otherwise, depending on availability, who has their own previous experience of using a prosthesis.
The mentor guides the user in taking photos of the residual limb.
These photos are sent to the clinic, and they make digital versions of the prosthesis based on dimensions sent by the user.
They then make the prosthesis based on these dimensions.
The device is sent to the user through local trucking companies that deliver goods daily to convenience stores.
The user can learn to fit and use the prosthesis through training videos in the app, and connect to other users worldwide for queries and support.
Here is how the app works:
I developed the following proto-personas to help understand the users: