'Rise up and walk' - Jamaican builds one of the 50 best inventions of the year

Published: Wednesday | November 18, 2009

Shernette Gillispie, Gleaner Writer

He is 25 years old but already he has made a valuable contribution to the world.

His invention is such that Time Magazine lists the product at number 18 in its '50 best inventions of the year'.

The former Wolmer's Preparatory student, Joel Sadler, along with teammate, Eric Thorsell, has designed the JaipurKnee, which has been used to help amputees in India to walk again.

The design, which currently benefits 400 persons, was a collaboration between the Jaipur Foot Group and Stanford University.

Sadler's invention is being sold for US$20 (J$1,765) and was developed from a project for a course called Medical Device Design, at Stanford University in California.

He said after seeing the needs and problems of persons in developing countries he was motivated to use his skills to help.

"I was motivated to help people in need," he said.

The soft-spoken Sadler described the challenges faced in the design process as "interesting". He noted the main challenge was "coming up with a product that (would) work very well and at the same time be affordable", adding that many persons in India earned less than a US$1 per day.

Though he has no immediate plans of returning to Jamaica, Sadler, a former Campion College student, said he would continue to design products that would help Jamaica and other developing countries.

The avid musician, who is motivated to help people, said "The work is never, ever complete."

He said that he would continue to evaluate the JaipurKnee with the aim of creating new components.

Even though he could not say when the prosthesis would be marketed in the Caribbean, Sadler noted, "Designing for the developing world is a deep need."

He said he hoped his design would some day impact Jamaica.


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