CBM (Christian Blind Mission) Can- ada hopes 3-D print technology will provide children in developing
countries with prosthetics in less time
than it currently takes. The technology
allows a solid object to be created from
a three-dimensional digital model that is
then created in a solid form, layer by layer.
The Stouffville, Ont.-based international development organization has teamed
up with the University of Toronto (U of T),
software developer Autodesk and CoRSU,
a rehabilitation hospital in Uganda for the
“We’ve been talking around 3-D tech
for about 18 months,” says Mitch Wilkie,
CBM Canada’s director of international
programs. The project focuses on children
who need below-the-knee prosthetics.
The small size of the sockets means the
prosthetic can be printed complete. Adult
sockets would need to be printed in two
halves and adhered together.
3-D printing will solve two key prob-
KingdomMatters n GOOD NEWS
lems – the amount of time it takes for
a child to get a prosthetic and the shortage of prosthetic technicians in Uganda.
“Traditional methods can take up to five
Lead investigator Matt
Ratto’s leg is scanned
with an infrared laser to
simulate what would be
done in the field to capture a digital image of an
amputee's residual limb.
Canadian Ministry Leading 3-D Printing Prosthetic Initiative
days for fitting and production,” says Wil-
kie. “It’s not just the cost of the prosthetic.
Families are away from their livelihood.
With 3-D technology we can print out a
socket in three to four hours.”
Part of the process will be training
additional technicians in the 3-D process.
Currently only 12 prosthetic technicians
serve Uganda’s population of more than
250,000. CBM Canada started on the pro-
ject with U of T last year. Initially digital
photography was used to create the im-
ages needed for a prosthetic socket.
“We found that didn’t work well,” says
Wilkie. They then looked at the computer gaming world, discovering that what
captures 3-D images for games could also
create images needed for a prosthetic. Between the infrared laser camera, which
captures the image, and software being
modified by Autodesk, a 3-D matrix of the
socket can be created.
The project is about 18 months away
from being implemented, with fundrais-ing and clinical trials needed (which will
be subject to a U of T ethical review before being approved), along with final
revisions of the software.
“It’s a three-year project with 18 months
or so to create a useable prosthetic,” says
Wilkie. “It could be another 18 months
after that to refine the technical process and
have the business model figured out.” FT
Of all the icons of north America, the cowboy has to be one of the most evoca- tive and enduring. One of the strongest associations with the cowboy, apart from horses, is that of the lonely trail-wandering cattle driver who spends his
days working on the range and his nights making do wherever he can find a place to
rest his head.
Things have changed over the decades. But to be a cowboy, riding horses and bulls
on the modern rodeo circuit still means an awful lot of time on the road.
For scott hilgendorff, a London, Ont., native who went from a career in journalism to a vocation as a cowboy preacher, filling the gap left by the lack of a home
church community is one of the most important elements to his ministry with
Cowboys of the Cross ( www.cowboysofthecross.com).
“Most of them are not connected with a church anywhere,” he says of the riders, an-
nouncers and workers he meets during cowboy church, “so you become their only tie to
the Christian faith.”
The short, Bible-based service Cowboys of the Cross offers, held before rodeo
events, is just the tip of the iceberg, says hilgendorff.
“That’s the more exciting and more visible part of the ministry, but that’s what
opens the door to the more important part, which is discipleship, where they get to
know who you are and they’ll come to you. You become their go-to person.” Along with
fellow cowboy preachers Jesse horton and Brien Ayers, hilgendorff travels across the
southeast United states, bringing the Word to the ring, so to speak.
The kind of work the Cowboys are doing, which also includes hospital visitation
(nobody said being a cowboy had become safe over the years!), is almost unique in the
part of north America where hilgendorff operates, though he says it’s definitely more
popular and established out West.
“I don’t know so much about Canada,” he says, “but in the states there tend to be more
ministries doing some more things out there the further west you go. There’s only a handful of cowboy preachers that I know of that are in the southeast.” FT –Ryan Paulsen
Canadian Cowboy Preacher Helps Fill the gap