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An $80 Knee Gives Hope to Amputees Around the World

D-Rev CEO Krista Donaldson says everyone who could benefit from a product should have access to it.  



Krista Donaldson, CEO of Design Revolution (a.k.a. D-Rev), in conjunction with JaipurKnee, announced an $80 prosthetic knee designed for above-knee amputees. During a recent TED talk, Donaldson introduced the ReMotion Knee as a more effective alternative to the single axis knee prosthesis currently sold in developing countries.


One of Silicon Vallery Business Journal's "40 Under 40", Donaldson manages a global non-profit tech incubator that creates products to improve the lives of people living on less than $4 a day, in partnership with major organizations like Stanford Medical Center and the All Indian Institute of Medicine. 


At the beginning of her speech, Donaldson recalled a conversation that inspired her to lead D-Rev to design medical devices for the world's poorest:


"I had tea with a storekeeper in Bagdad and he said, 'You Americans. You put a man on the moon, but when I get home tonight, I won't be able to turn on my lights'." 


Donaldson said that she then realized that, despite advanced technology, many critical items, such as medical devices, are not reaching the people who need them most.  


D-Rev reports there are 4 billion people around the world that lack access to basic goods and services that enable them to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.   In some developing countries, most amputees can only afford a bamboo staff to walk with, while in many the most advanced option is a single axis knee, which severely limits a person's range of motion.


Donaldson's TED appearance included a video demonstration of a man using a single axis knee and then using the ReMotion Knee, the product designed by D-Rev. The range of motion, speed, stability, and maneuverability with the ReMotion knee was noticeably better.    Donaldson stated that these improvements also affect the psychological well-being of amputees, and could make the difference between working and having a social life or not. 


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