> Traditional clubfoot correcting braces can cost between $300-700 and be pretty ugly, even scary looking devices, but not anymore. Jeff Yang and Ian Connolly, a pair of Stanford students, have developed a simple $20 gadget for treating clubfoot. The students were prompted to seek a simple, affordable clubfoot solution by Miraclefeet, an organization set on treating clubfoot in the developing world, and the pair successfully rose to the challenge. A class project for their “Design for Extreme Affordability” class at Stanford, the solution is an injection molded plastic brace that locks the patient’s feet into a corrective position.
Based on the Ponseti Method, which was developed by Dr. Ponseti over 50 years ago at the University of Iowa, now considered the gold standard clubfoot treatment, the braces are used to hold the patient’s feet in a set position that improves muscle strength and helps the feet develop correctly. The frame is made of light plastic which enables kids to stand and play freely, in contrast to clunkier conventional braces. Additionally, the designers factored in the ability for the shoes to be detached from the brace frame. This allows parents to easily put on shoes separately before attaching them to the brace frame. The Stanford duo plans on seeking FDA approval for their product soon, and they hope to start distributing units in the US this year.
(hat tip: Wired)