Erin Keaney knew from a very young age that she would end up becoming a plastic engineer. Watching her father come home with plastic medical devices, she couldn’t wait to be old enough to get her hands on them! Fast forward to several years later, Erin Keaney is the proud owner of a Plastics Engineering degree.
With a particular interest in creating prosthetic limbs for amputees, Erin went on to do some research on amputations. Three million amputations are performed every year. More specifically, there is a high rate of below-the-knee amputations in India. Although prosthetic limbs are already available, their high cost makes it difficult for people to afford them. Prosthetic limbs usually average at around $20,000 USD. Additionally, it gets more complicated when amputees are kids. The limbs need to be altered and changed as they get older.
“There are 54 million amputees worldwide, and 45 million of them lack access to a prosthetic limb. The reason for that are time and the cost of prosthetics.”http://ad.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/show?id=z57KGn*/h8U&bids=467035&type=3&subid=0
Erin already knew that something had to be done. The cost was simply to high and the number of amputees were increasing. However, what was the turning point for Erin was the Boston Marathon bombings. The 2013 incident left 16 people who suffered lost of limbs. She followed their journey and realized that many of the amputees couldn’t afford prosthetic limbs. Realizing that the price wasn’t just an issue in countries like India, Erin made the decision to find a solution.
On a mission to change the world
Determined to make a difference, Erin founded Nonspec. Based in the USA, Nonspec creates adjustable prosthetic kits for clinics that can easily fit amputees. Due to their hyper-adjustability that makes is easy to fit a wide-range of patients, Nonspec is quite popular. And also a lot more affordable with a price point of $150 USD. Obviously, India is the primary focus as their targeted audience. However, Erin does plan to eventually expand to the US and worldwide. But what makes her devices more affordable? It’s quite simple actually. Erin uses plastic.
Plastic: the answer to a world-wide medical problem
While the new generation is intent on eliminating plastic for environmental issues, Erin is actually using it to her advantage. One of the main reasons why prosthetic limbs are expensive is due to the expensive metal used to create them. Therefore, Erin decided to use a medical-grade plastic instead. By opting for plastic, she was able to reduce the price to under 20$ per device. A huge difference compared to the hundreds it costs to make them usually. Additionally, each device is adjustable. Therefore, as kids grow, their prosthetic devices can easily grow with them.
Since the launch of Nonspec, Erin has managed to win several awards for their affordable prosthetic limbs. She’s also managed to raise about $1 million for the company. It’s been over 5 years that Nonspec has launched. To date, there are over 200 amputees who are using their prosthetic legs successfully.
Today, Erin continues to work hard at finding newer and better ways to alter her devices. She also makes it her mission to educate people that thinking all plastic is bad is wrong. There are many benefits to using plastic. One of the main benefits is using it for medical devices.
Erin is a perfect example of thinking outside the box. Finding innovative ways on how to fix issues that are affecting the world is what being a true #BossGirl is all about. We can’t wait to see what other projects she has planned for the future!