A Vietnamese startup is manufacturing prosthetic products for amputees at reasonable prices.
The number of people with limb disabilities in Vietnam has been increasing because of landmines and unexploded ordnances left over from wars, labor and traffic accidents, and complications of diabetes.
There are about 8 million disabled Vietnamese aged 5 or older, and 40 percent of them do not have jobs.
Prosthetic limbs available in the market are all imported from Europe and the US, priced VND60 million to hundreds of million dong. The products are not only expensive but also difficult to maintain because they are imported through single distributors who do not have consultancy and maintenance centers.
In July 2018, Trinh Khanh Ha decided to establish Vulcan Augmetics, a startup specializing in making prosthetic limbs at prices affordable to Vietnamese.
The startup uses smart materials and a manufacturing process for designing arms to ensure that the product is functional, aesthetically pleasing and more comfortable for users.
A prosthetic arm includes a combination of silicon, 3D plastics printing, aluminum, copper and medical plastics. It is mounted with sensors that enable disabled people to handle and grip things. Users can master the operations with the arm within two weeks.
|The biggest difference between Vulcan’s and other manufacturers’ products is the flexibility of products. Couplings are designed specifically to connect with modules which are assembled or disassembled in specific cases.|
The biggest difference between Vulcan’s and other manufacturers’ products is the flexibility of products. Couplings are designed specifically to connect with modules which are assembled or disassembled in specific cases.
Vulcan does not create complete arms, but creates a part of a fixed arm and removable parts which can be attached or unattached to the main part, depending on users' needs. This allows the startup to keep the prices of the products affordable even for the people with tight budgets.
Vulcan Augmetics estimated that the prosthetic product market in developed markets would have value of $1.76 billion by 2025 and double three years after that.
“Vietnam has 68,000 people with arm disabilities. We aim to have 10 percent of the market share in the next three years,” Ha said.
In June 2020, Vulcan successfully organized the "Installation of free functional robotic arm”, an event in the UpLift project series for people with disabilities in the North in Hanoi.
Each robot arm product is worth VND23 million. At the event, 10 people with disabilities, aged 20-52, had opportunities to experience the products.
Ha said that in the future, her company would also research and develop other smart wearable devices that support humans’ motions. Vulcan’s products will serve the Vietnamese market and be sold in Indonesia and India in 2021.
The ‘smart’ fertilizer, used once per crop, saves money and labor, and reduces environmental pollution.
Le Thi Trang, 34, deputy director of GreenViet, has been honored as one of 10 “Hotspot Heroes” by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).