Brian Fountaine knows how difficult it is to live with prosthetic limbs–10 years ago, he became a double below-the-knee amputee after sustaining a combat injury in Iraq. What he didn’t know, however, is how expensive it is to get those prosthetics in the first place.
“I, for lack of a better term, was lucky, because the government covered all the costs of my prosthetic work,” Fountaine says. “Later on, I went and did some peer mentor work with victims [of the Boston Marathon bombing] and came to realize just how expensive prosthetics were.”
Fountaine, an undergraduate graphic design student at Northeastern University, set out to find a way to make high-quality, life-changing prosthetics affordable. The answer he found was 3D printing prosthetics using carbon fiber, an idea so promising that the Ford Foundation awarded him $25,000 to make it happen.