In October 2015 four disabled British children had a remarkable new experience – they were fitted with orthoses manufactured purely to meet their individual needs and which they had helped design. The new equipment was thanks to Andiamo, a UK healthcare company backed by Sir Richard Branson as ‘one to watch’ when it won the 2015 global Talent Unleashed Award in Sydney.
Andiamo’s mission statement is simple: ‘Helping disabled children’. In the UK and around the world hundreds of thousands of those children rely on orthoses, exterior braces of supports, to enable them to walk or to relieve the symptoms of their condition.
Unfortunately the requirements of mass health care provision means planners often fall victim to ‘system thinking‘, an approach that misses individual human needs, like not hating the orthoses you have to wear because of the way it looks. However, technology like 3D scanning and digital printing now makes it possible to make highly personalised devices, allowing Andiamo to bring ‘choice, beauty, and self worth to disabled children’.
In turn the children and their families feed back to Andiamo, allowing the products and the process to be perfected as Andiamo heads from small beginnings to its long term aim of ‘providing a medically effective orthoses to every person that needs one within one week of their application globally.’
Michael is a former British Magazine Writer of the Year and two times Columnist of the Year. He is a regular contributor to Wired, author of a social history of the AK47 and his cultural and travel writing appears in the Financial Times and New Statesman.
Samiya and Naveed Parvez, COO and CEO