by Charles Mombo
It appears that with the success story of David Sengeh, there is some truth to the idiom, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Born in Sierra Leone, Sengeh is from one of the countries with very high per capita amputee rate in the world. Unlike other countries with high percentage of amputee, what makes Sierra Leone unique is limbs were hacked off by fellow Sierra Leonean using ax or machete. In other countries such as Angola and Cambodia limbs are usually lost due to mines.
Who is David Sengeh?
Sengeh, 26-year-old, is credited for finding a way to load MRI scans of a patient's limbs onto a multilayer 3D computer to customize the socket design. He got a scholarship in 2004 to study in Norway. Later, he applied and got accepted into Harvard to study at its School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, before joining MIT's Media Lab.
According to CNN:
As a doctorate student in the Biomechatronics Group, which looks at how technology can be used to enhance human physical capability, Sengeh has taken on the challenge to design the perfect fit for every prosthetic socket — the interface between the body and the prosthetic limb, and a major source of discomfort for amputees.
His interest in improving the lives of amputees stems from his childhood in war-torn Sierra Leone. From 1991 to 2002, the country was caught in the grip of a vicious war that took thousands of lives. One of the most common atrocities committed during the war was to hack off people's limbs, scarring them for life both physically and psychologically.
Seeing people who had lost their limbs and whose lives were just kind of cut short was very, very traumatizing," says Sengeh, who is from Bo, the West African country's second biggest city. "But it also opened this desire to engineer a solution.
Isha Sesay of CNN, who is also a Sierra Leonean, interviews David Sengeh