The Silicon Valley-based supporters of Jaipur Foot Armand Neukermans and OP Choudhary have been looking at ways to leverage the Silicon Valley-based technology infrastructure, world-class universities and their lab and research faculty and innovation mindset to develop low-cost prosthetics for Jaipur Foot.
Armand Neukermans, a Silicon Valley successful entrepreneur, scientist, and philanthropist. Currently, Armand is working on a research project, funded by Bill Gates Foundation, to reduce the earth temperature using various techniques to create artificial clouds/cloud brightening. OP Choudhary, President of OpalSoft lives in Silicon Valley for last 20 years, belongs to Rajasthan and connected with Jaipur foot for over 15 years.
These diligent efforts by Silicon Valley support team have resulted in getting into an agreement with Frugal Innovation Lab of Santa Clara University to develop myoelectric hand prostheses at $200 (comparable prostheses cost $10,000 currently). Mr. Armand expressed that “we wanted to make sure we find the right University team equipped with technical know-how and the right level of interest in working with Jaipur Foot organization”.
In Santa Clara University, we have found a right University partner and Frugal Innovation Lab is well equipped to carry out this work. We have Christopher Kitts, Professor, Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development, School of Engineering, Santa Clara University as a Project Leader/Principal Scientist.
A multidisciplinary team including robotics, mechatronics, and bioengineering will be working on a myoelectric hand prostheses development project. We are working towards to have a working product ready for field testing as part of phase one. The funding for the first phase of the project is raised locally and key contributors are Neukermans family trust, Enable the Unable organization, and Hayden Watson.
Jaipur Foot, world's largest organization for artificial limbs, is an equal partner in this myoelectric hand prostheses development project and Dr. Pooja Mukul will support the project as subject matter expert. The collaboration between Jaipur Foot and Stanford University has helped develop Jaipur knee, and now a collaboration with Santa Clara University is next step in right direction to bring out low-cost myoelectric hand prostheses.
When the project was brought to the attention of Jaipur Foot USA, the management of Jaipur Foot USA was very excited. An immediate meeting of executives was convened and all the senior members including Prem Bhandari, Chairman, Manish Dadha, Vice Chairman, Rajendra Bafna, Secretory, and advisors K.K. Mehta, Kanak Golia, Rajeev Bhambri, Ashok Sancheti, took part in the meeting and immediately decided to provide the next phase of funding for the coming year from New York.
The Silicon Valley/SFO Bay Area has been supporting Jaipur Foot since 2006 and completed multiple successful innovation projects. The first project was undertaken in 2007, and key supporter and University connection maker was Armand Neukermans, a Silicon Valley successful entrepreneur, scientist, and philanthropist.
Currently, Armand is working on a research project, funded by Bill Gates Foundation, to reduce the earth temperature using various techniques to create artificial clouds/cloud brightening. In 2007, Armand formed the collaboration agreement with Stanford University, and Jaipur Foot/BMVSS to develop the Jaipur Knee joint.
This Jaipur Knee joint received coveted San Jose Tech Museum award for innovation which consisted $50,000 cash prize. It also received numerous awards and featured in Times Magazine for “The 50 best Inventions of the Year” list (please see number 18) and many other magazines and newspapers.
Mr. D.R. Mehta was invited by Tech Museum Awards committee to receive this award at Tech Museum, San Jose. With Mr. D.R. Mehta, Armand & Eliane Neukermans, Prem Bhandari, Alkesh & OP Choudhry attended the award ceremony. So far over 8000 plus Jaipur Knee joints have been fitted to beneficiaries and the version 4 of Jaipur Knee is getting field testing.