IIT-Delhi, DRDO fabricating knee cap from composite materials

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Kochi, Oct 30 (UNI) The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with IIT-Delhi, is fabricating an artificial knee cap made of composite materials for polio patients, DRDO Chief Controller A Sivathanu Pillai said today.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, Dr Pillai said the light weight and flexible knee cap was expected to be ready within six months, after which it would be manufactured at the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO), Kanpur.

It would make standing and sitting easier for polio-affected people.

Later, Dr Pillai formally fitted a light weight caliper on a polio patient, who was among the 54 polio-hit people who got the 'Floor Reaction Orthosis' (FRO) or light weight caliper at a special camp organised at the Ernakulam General Hospital.

The caliper, fabricated with the use of a 'fibre reinforced composite material,' was much lighter and cheaper than the conventional caliper made out of steel, leather and wood, Dr Pillai said.

The composite material technology, used in the 'Agni' missile, was transferred by the DRDO to the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, that standardised and developed the caliper, which comes in seven sizes.

As against the conventional caliper, which weighed almost three kg and cost Rs 1,500, the FRO weighed less than one kg and cost only about Rs 800.

''Our aim is to make the caliper weigh less than 500 gm,'' he added.

Stating that there were nearly six million polio-affected people in India, Dr Pillai called upon non-governmental organisations and other institutions to participate in a big way in sponsoring the distribution of the light weight calipers to make life easier for these people.

So far, about 24,000 of these calipers had been distributed to people in different parts of the country. Unlike Kerala, where polio had been eradicated some time ago, mostly children came to the camps in the other states.

The calipers, distributed at the camp here, the first in Ernakulam, were sponsored by LIC and Y's Men's International.

Ernakulam District Collector M Beena, Director Naval Physical and Oceonographic Laboratory S Ananthanarayanan and former Kerala DGP Hormis Tharakan, were among those present at the function.

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