The Jaipur Foot

The Jaipur foot comes from the Blagwan Mahaveer Viklang Shayata Samiti organization, no doubt unknown to most of us. Nevertheless, it does something worthwhile, important and wonderful. It provides artificial limbs for people who have been victims of work accidents or land mines, and it provides those limbs free of charge. It’s based in the western desert state of Rajasthan whose capital is Jaipur, hence the name. The person usually goes there and workers take a day or two to fashion an artificial leg or foot. It’s crude, made from locally available materials but it serves its purpose and some can even learn how to run with their new foot. Since it began in 1975 it has fitted around one million people. It costs them about $40 per prosthesis but they do not charge. Now MIT has heard of their work and is trying to adapt it and improve upon it. Problem is in the US cost becomes a major issue, a prosthesis would cost $8,000 or $9,000. It is hoped MIT can provide funding as well as an upgraded technology. Still, it’s remarkable what can be done when profit does not determine outcome.