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Penn State start-up is bringing 3D-printed medical devices to developing areas


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: May 30th, 2018

A Pennsylvania State University start-up has developed a mobile app that enables 3D printing of medical devices in developing areas, starting in Africa.

Launched by an interdisciplinary team of Penn State students, Kijenzi aims to connect entrepreneurs in East Africa with the technology to provide inexpensive and easy-to-use medical packages to low-resource communities.

“Things like the umbilical cord clamp are small things that we see every day in hospitals in the United States that can make a big impact,” says Kijenzi co-founder Akhil Pothana, who himself grew up in low-resource regions of India.

“Seeing how life is firsthand in a developing country, I was able to connect and realize the impact of what we’re doing here,” adds Pothana. “It ties into us really believing in the idea and trying to see it through.”

Kijenzi recently won the first-place prize at the Penn State 2018 Supply Chain Pitch Contest. In their pitch, the founders told the true story of a tomato farmer in Kenya whose case of malaria went undiagnosed because the microscope at his local health clinic was broken. Kijenzi eventually stepped in and designed and printed microscope parts overnight, enabling the clinic to properly diagnose and treat him.

The start-up has long-term plans to expand its product line and customer base to include areas like manufacturing and farming.

“In developing countries, supply chains are a problem in every field,” says co-founder Chandler Goewert. “Our end goal is to bring 3D printing to everybody.”

Source: Penn State News

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