11 July 2024

An award for an invented product, from NRCT 2023, has gone to the ‘sPace’ Dynamic Prosthetic Foot, from Thai medical researchers and innovators. It offers a human prosthetic foot that improves the quality of life for those with disabilities. With its unique materials and features, it allows disabled people to enjoy more activities than just walking.

What makes ‘sPace’ different?

Statistics show that more than 39,000, or 95%, of those who use prosthetic feet use Solid Ankle Cushion Heel, or SACH feet, which are quite heavy. A SACH foot does not have an ankle joint, so people walk uncomfortably and unnaturally. The sPace dynamic prosthetic foot is made of carbon fiber, which is light-weight and more flexible.

One of its unique features is its flexibility. In terms of physics, when a user takes a step, it can collect and reflect the same energy to the ankle. For this reason, users with an sPace dynamic prosthetic foot can walk and do activities, such as sports, more comfortably.

Dr. Wiparat De-ong, the Director of the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) revealed that the innovation of the ‘sPace’ dynamic prosthetic foot offers what disabled people need and an opportunity to experience this innovation safely. It is also suitable for everyday use.

Distributing sPace dynamic feet to all regions

Under a collaboration between the NRCT, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, the Faculty of Engineering at Chulalongkorn University and the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital of Mahidol University, over 200 sPace Dynamic prosthetic feet have been given to people across Thailand through 5 hospitals in Bangkok, 7 hospitals in the southern region, 2 hospitals in the northern region and 3 hospitals in the north-east region. In total, there are 17 hospitals that have registered for Thai Food and Drug Administration certification and establishment of production of ‘sPace’ Dynamic prosthetic feet.

In addition to the NRCT 2023 award, it meets the universal ISO 10328 standard from Germany and has been tested by the Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics, the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital and the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital.

This sPace dynamic prosthetic foot project is still research and development, in terms of sizes and thickness of foot platforms, to be suitable for a more diverse group of users.

By Warissara Sae-han, Thai PBS World