Victoria Hand Project Earns Grant

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The Victoria Hand Project, based at the University of Victoria, Canada, received a grant of $1 million CAD (approximately $760,000 USD) from the TD Ready Challenge. The funding will allow the nonprofit, which manufactures low-cost, 3D-printed, custom-fitted prostheses for the developing world, to expand and develop scoliosis braces for underserved communities in North America.

"It's a huge boost for the project that will change people's lives while enhancing learning for students at the University of Victoria," Nick Dechev, executive director of the project and acting chair of the university's department of mechanical engineering, told the Times Colonist newspaper.

Michael Peirone, COO of the project, said the grant money will cover setting up seven print centers across North America and the initial printing of 200 prosthetic hands and 160 scoliosis braces.

"Once these print centers are set up, they can continue to print braces beyond the funding of the grant," he told the newspaper.

Dechev said students stand to win with the new funding. "It means a lot of learning opportunities," he said, noting teams of students and designers have devoted over 12,000 hours to honing the design of the prosthetic limbs alone. "This means we can engage with a lot more students, and it gets them some real-life experience."

The TD Ready Challenge offers grants of $1 million CAD to fund innovative solutions for problem sectors. This year's challenge offered grants to help improve access to early detection and intervention for diseases.