New York, May 15 (IANS) Having helped 1.7 million people around the world gain mobility with the famous Jaipur Foot, the organisation is now embarking on a mission to develop an affordable artificial hand, its founder D.R. Mehta has said.
The US affiliate, Jaipur Foot USA (JFU), is helping the organisation in the development of the artificial hand in collaboration with a US university and it was fitting that US and Indian organisations should cooperate in developing the technology, he said here on Monday.
He was speaking at an awards ceremony organised by the JFU at the Indian consulate honouring those who have contributed to its efforts.
Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, the president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, said the Jaipur Foot organisation was promoting "aspirational justice", which he likened to concepts like economic justice that seek to create equal conditions for all.
"Aspirational justice" does this by making it possible for those without legs to have aspirations like everyone else when they are fitted with Jaipur Foot, said Sahasrabuddhe, who is also the national vice president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a member of parliament.
Narayan Lal Panchariya, a BJP MP, said that Mehta through his work spans the globe like a colossus.
Prem Bhandari, the chairman of JFU, said that an accident that Mehta had became a boon for the 1.7 million people who have received Jaipur Foot or other mobility aids because that incident made him empathise with those who have lost their mobility and inspired him to start the Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti that provides the prosthetics.
Consul-General Sandeep Chakravorty said Jaipur Foot has emerged as India's international brand and an ambassador for the nation projecting its best qualities.
Among those who were honoured for helping JFU were Suresh Venkatachari, a technology entrepreneur and the chairman of 8K Miles Media, and Rajeev Bhambri, the COO of India Abroad Publications.
O.P. Choudhary, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who is coordinating the artificial hand project, told IANS that they were working with the Frugal Innovation Lab of Santa Clara University in California.
The prosthetic, known as a myelectric hand, would connect to the nerves in the arm, which would control its movements through electrical impulses, he said.
Such devices now cost between $10,000 and $30,000 and their goal was to bring it down to $500, he said.
The Jaipur Foot had achieved a large scale of savings, with the prosthetic costing only $70 compared to $10,000 for a similar product in the US.
Bhandari said that the JFU has so far collected $1.2 million for Jaipur Foot.
It had sponsored four camps in India for people missing legs to be fitted with the device, he said.
JFU is also aiding Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's project for a university in Jamdoli near Jaipur for the differently abled people.