Open Source Prosthetics Development

After listening to a fascinating interview of double-amputee Scott Rigsby on IM Talk, I began thinking about the world of prosthetics and how it relates to my career in patents.  With nearly all medical devices, intellectual property protection can often be a divisive topic.  On the one hand, some argue that patents are necessary to create incentives to development of new products: research, design, and construction of new medical devices aren’t cheap.  On the other hand, some argue that patents limit access to new medical devices for those who can’t afford to pay the premiums through which medical companies recoup their costs and profit.  Scott noted that in the recent Hawaii Ironman Championships, he had to have $90,000 in equipment to compete.  One organization, The Open Prosthetics Project, is attempting to remove some of the expenditure obstacles  by encouraging open-source design of prosthetics.  It hosts a worthy site at which to spend some time and consideration.