October 21, 2016: Oleg Galtsev, a graduate from the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S. Embassy in Belarus, is launching the first bionics startup in Belarus. The programmer has created a “smart” prosthetic arm that costs almost 10 times less than an alternative product from Germany.
Oleg was four years old when his father Sergei, a former soviet army captain, lost his arm in an explosion on a military firing range. Almost 30 years later, Sergei, now 53, is using a prosthetic arm designed by his son and a fellow engineer in the basement of their home. They gave him the prosthetic arm to test for three weeks. He used it to cut the grass and do many other things in the field.
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The mechanical arm looks nothing like the sophisticated prosthetic arm, but it is affordable, easy to assemble and does not require much maintenance. It does not have sense of controls. It is like Lego designed for people who are not at ease with electronics. They just take cheap models and put them together themselves. Oleg says it took them 2 years to design the prosthetic arm. They used a 3-D printer to create some parts and bought other online.
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According to the inventor, the turning movement makes the fingers open and close. The angles can be adjusted and programmed. Oleg and his partner did not patent the device and they have published do-it-yourself instructions online. They say it is 10 times cheaper than the other mechanical prosthesis. Sergei says he can now perform many outdoor tasks such as sawing with the chainsaw which he could not do before.
He said, “I am proud that my son decided to tackle this problem. There are many people who really need this device in their daily life”. Videos of the test have sparked worldwide interest on YouTube says the young inventor who aims to spark a do-it-yourself revolution in prosthetics.
Now, he is planning to make the arm available around the globe and working on it to refine the structure so that a person of any age group can use them.
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