April 03, 2014
Building a Better Prosthetic
Taylor Rosenblum , Mechanical Engineering, 2015
Co-op Employer: Benevolent Technologies for Health
Co-op Position: Product Engineer
Hometown: Farfield, CT
Taylor Rosenblum, BSME ’15, designed a part on a 3D mechanical software program, put the necessary stock material into a computational numerical control machine, programmed the machine to build the part he digitally created, and pressed “go.” A few hours later, he was holding the part in his hands.
“I really wanted to sink my teeth into something,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of something where I could actually have a lot of responsibility.”
The piece he independently manufactured was a mold used for startup company Benevolent Technologies for Health’s below-the-knee prosthetic prototype. Benevolent Technologies for Health was one of eight companies chosen last year by Bolt, a hardware startup incubator in Downtown Crossing, to use its facilities and resources to develop an original prototype.
Bolt provides workspace, engineering equipment, in-house engineering and design staff, and other amenities to the companies it selects to sponsor.
The mission of Benevolent Technologies for Health is to develop a new prosthetic model that provides unprecedented comfort for patients and substantial savings for providers.
“The current problem that amputees are faced with is that the prosthetic is completely rigid,” said Rosenblum. “And the issue with that is that now this person who wasn’t able to walk is now getting healthy and walking, maybe even running, and they’re starting to lose weight. And once you lose three percent of your body mass, your entire limb shape changes, and then the prosthetic either becomes useless or extremely uncomfortable.”
Typically when this happens, amputees have to return to the doctor to be fit for a new prosthetic. With the new product, this step would be eliminated, saving time and money for both doctors and patients.
Rosenblum is also involved in working with legal intellectual property matters, as well as creating some of the prototypes that the company intends to use for marketing purposes down the line.
Rosenblum relates that he is gaining significant hands-on experience with a cause he is passionate about, and he attributes Wentworth’s Accelerate program with his decision to pursue a co-op at a startup company.
Accelerate opened his eyes to the process of converting brainstorming into a product pitch, and he is excited to be participating in this type of process with Benevolent Technologies for Health, he said.
“Wentworth has definitely given me the confidence to tackle big projects,” said Rosenblum. “All the skill sets I’ve used to solve problems [in class] are the same skill sets I use to manufacture parts at work.”