IIT Madras Researchers Launch India’s first indigenously developed Polycentric Prosthetic Knee

CHENNAI : Indian Institute of Technology Madras Researchers have launched India’s first indigenously developed Polycentric Prosthetic Knee, which aims to improve the quality of life for thousands of above-knee amputees. Called ‘Kadam,’ this ‘Made in India’ product is a polycentric knee for Above Knee Prosthesis developed in association with Society for Biomedical Technology (SBMT) and Mobility India.

Kadam makes it possible for above-knee amputees to walk with a comfortable gait. Not just mobility, it also aims to improve the quality of life of users through increased community participation, access to education, livelihood opportunities and overall well-being.

It was developed by a team at TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at IIT Madras, which also developed and commercialized ‘Arise,’ the country’s first standing wheelchair and NeoFly-NeoBolt: active wheelchair and motorized add-on for seamless indoor-outdoor mobility. R2D2 is involved in research related to human movement, and the design and development of rehabilitation and assistive devices for people with movement impairments.

SBMT, which supported the development, was established under DRDO by former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to enable indigenous medical device development. Mobility India, an NGO in Bengaluru, will mass manufacture and take Kadam to the market along with overseeing the processes of fitment and training and ensuring easy access for the users.

Kadam was launched in the IIT Madras campus today (8th April 2022) by Thiru. Johny Tom Varghese IAS, State Commissioner for Persons with Disability, Government of Tamil Nadu, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, Prof. Sujatha Srinivasan, Faculty Head, TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2), IIT Madras, and other faculty, researchers and students.

Addressing the launch event virtually, Thiru. Johny Tom Varghese IAS, State Commissioner for Persons with Disability, Government of Tamil Nadu, said, “What bridges the world of a Differently Abled Person with that of others is technology. It is phenomenal to see how technology can usher in inclusion in all walks of life. Kadam is one such innovation, along with other similarly path-breaking products that came out of R2D2 IIT Madras, which will make technology accessible and affordable!”

Kadam has advantages over a hinge joint because of the multiple axes of rotation, which provide the user greater control over the prosthesis while walking and maximum knee flexion of 160 degrees to make it easy to sit in cramped spaces like buses and autos. It is designed for durability with high strength stainless steel and aluminium alloy along with hard chrome plated EN8 pins and high fatigue life polymer bushings.

Congratulating the Researchers on the successful commercialization of Kadam, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “The need for Technology to meet health and medicine is crucial for a healthy future.  The Kadam is yet another example to justify this need.  We, at IIT Madras are very happy that our Research and Development efforts are translating to products that could be of benefit to mankind.”

Indigenously developed Kadam is affordable and at the same time, of high quality and performance, complying with ISO 10328 standards including 30 lakh cycles of fatigue testing. It provides stability, reduces the risk of stumbling and its patented geometry is specifically optimized for use on uneven terrains.

Highlighting the unique aspects of Kadam in comparison with existing products, Prof. Sujatha Srinivasan, Head, TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2), IIT Madras, said, “Functional needs, socioeconomic and environmental challenges of Indian users are unique. Kadam’s user-centric design takes these into account. It meets international quality standards while being 4-5 times more affordable than comparable imported knees. ”

Through Mobility India, extensive clinical trials have been conducted in various geographical settings – urban, periurban and rural, the feedback from which have ensured that the design is user-centric and functional in different environments. Users instantly recognize the stable nature of the knee. The ability of the user to let go of the safety of parallel bars in the very first trial is a testimony to the performance of the knee.

The Unique Aspects of Kadam include:

Ø  Suitable for short/long residual limbs after transfemoral (above-knee) amputation

Ø  Polycentric 4-bar knee joint provides the user better control of flexion-extension

Ø  Made of high strength materials: Aluminium alloy – Al 6061 T6, Stainless steel-SS 304

Ø  Customizable stability adjustment depending on the user’s need

Ø  Frictional swing control adjustment for different walking speeds

Ø  Patented 4-bar geometry (Indian Patent No. 338006) provides stability even on uneven terrain, and improved ground clearance

Ø  Provides maximum knee flexion of 160 degrees or more (range limited by socket)

Ø  Multi-centric user testing conducted with users walking on different surfaces and steep slopes

Ø  ISO 10328 Compliant for Proof strength, Ultimate Strength, Fatigue Strength for P4 condition (80 kg user weight)

The WHO states that only 1 in 10 people in need, have access to assistive technology and they are not available in adequate numbers and at affordable prices. The TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at IIT Madras, headed by Prof. Sujatha Srinivasan has been working to fill that gap.

The R2D2 centre engineers user-centric affordable products for rehabilitation needs in India and beyond, works with clinical specialists, NGOs, and hospitals, among others, to field-test the designs, and fosters a research environment to evaluate assistive device designs from biomechanical and functional standpoints.

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