Global Week 2007 – Thursday

Today’s main speaker was Mr. Mehta from the Jaipur Foot Factory.  Mr. Mehta as a civil servant sought out ways to help his country’s people during his free time.  He founded the organization that would produce and distribute the Jaipur Foot within India and then beyond.   According to Business Week, the $30 artificial
limb was developed in the late 1960s by Ram Chandra, a temple sculptor
from the north Indian city of Jaipur. He observed that patients in his
city had trouble using imported artificial limbs, which can’t
accommodate Indian postures like squatting. So he set out to improve


Image source: Quality Assurance and Optimization Studies of Light Weight PU Prosthetic Foot
V.V. Karunakaran

The Jaipur Foot is made from a rubberized material and more flexible
than many standard prosthetic feet available in the U.S., which cost
from about $250 to $1,500, depending on their range of motion. And the
Jaipur Foot is suitable for long periods of immersion in water —
essential for farmers who stand barefoot for hours in rice paddies. Its
movement at the knee and ankle allows Indians to comfortably squat, sit
cross-legged, and walk barefoot, as is often their custom. The
prosthetic limb costs so little because it’s made from cheap yet sturdy
materials, and its labor-intensive assembly does not require the use of
high-cost machinery.

Distributed by a charitable organization known by the acronym BMVSS,
the Jaipur Foot is exported across the developing world, from
Afghanistan to Rwanda. Two years ago, the BMVSS created a partnership
with India’s satellite space-research program, the Indian Space
Research Organization to improve the limb and further reduce its cost.
The Jaipur Foot will soon be manufactured using polyurethane, a
lightweight material normally used for making rocket propellant. The
new outer material will reduce the weight of the foot by half and cut
production costs by about 10%, to $27.


We also heard from Casti alum and performed, Rupa Marya from April Fishes. Rupa Marya, a 30-year old musician and Los Altos native, draws a devoted following. Rupa, as she’s billed, strikes a blend of traditional French chanson, American folk and nuanced Indian scales with an unusual force and grace.

Off-stage the musician walks an intriguing dual path. A medical resident at UCSF, she continues to perform having toured Europe this summer.  "Since I was young, I wanted to be a doctor but always loved art, too. I’ve always been compelled and drawn to use my mind in different ways," Marya said.

As an undergraduate at UC San Diego, Marya double-majored in biology and theater, excelling in both fields. She graduated from Georgetown medical school before being admitted to USCF residency program. 

Source: Los Altos Town Crier

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