The New Zealand Artificial Limb Service supported has supported the following past research projects:

Printed Prosthetics - Victoria University School Of Design

The New Zealand Artificial Limb Service (NZALS) in collaboration with Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Design has worked over the past 3 months to research the potential 3D printing can have on the Prosthetic Limb industry and whether there is potential the NZALS can adopt these findings into their business and manufacturing process. 

This research has been structured into two time frames. The now and the future, not only does this allow the NZALS to see a gradual progression of implementing 3D printing into their system it also includes a degree of speculation that has the potential to bring people from other disciplines of research together. 

Printed Prosthetics Report VUW

An Online Mindfulness and Gratitude Intervention for People with an Amputation

People who have had an amputation may have psychosocial issues that arise after the surgery. This includes continued pain, depression, anxiety, lower life satisfaction, lower well-being, changes in social and work functioning. There isn’t much treatment available for these issues. We did some research which developed and looked at an on-line programme to help. The programme consists of mindfulness and gratitude, which research suggests work for all these issues. Nine people who had an amputation in NZ took part and found it very helpful. We are planning to continue to develop this programme so it can be available for everyone. Please like us on Facebook to see in-person courses and updates on the on-line content: Living Well with Chronic Illness. 

Disclaimer from researcher: it is my belief that this work is not yet suitable for publication in a scientific journal because of the small numbers surveyed

An Online Mindfulness and Gratitude Intervention for people with an Amputation (PDF, 168KB) 

The Development of Interdisciplinary Care Guidelines for Hospital Management of Amputees in Christchurch

The project was conducted by Debbie Hockley, Physiotherapist. Her work resulted in considerable gains for amputees in Christchurch by:

  • improving communication
  • training in the latest methods of applying medical or surgical dressings for new amputations
  • an improved referral and follow-up system
  • closer networking with the local Amputee Society.

The report was made available to the Physiotherapy Departments of all District Health Boards, which prompted a number of subsequent initiatives around New Zealand to improve services for amputees. Resources in the report have been used widely, including transfer posters and a manual on applying rigid removable dressings. Download Debbie's report:

Debbie Hockley Care Guidelines (PDF, 1.42MB)

Demands of Day to Day Activities on Balance  and Posture for Older Amputees with a Below Knee Amputation

With the support of the New Zealand Artificial Limb Service, from early 2010 PhD student Prasath Jayakaran undertook a three stage research project quantifying balance and postural strategies used by fitted amputees with diabetes or vascular disease (dysvascular). 

Interestingly, this project observed the differences in the ability to balance when carrying out day to day activities between dysvascular amputees, their traumatic counterparts and those without an amputation. The concluding report observed that dysvascular amputees took longer than other groups to complete each of the daily tasks they were set. It confirmed findings from a previous study which found dysvascular amputees more compromised in their balance abilities and therefore more at risk from falling. Download Prasath's final report:

Prasath Jayakaran's final report (PDF, 455 KB)

Push Start to Go: Generic Shoulder Relief Device 

Funded by the New Zealand Artificial Limb Service, Senior Lecturer in Automotive Electronics, Steve Liggett researched, designed and developed a product to help amputees in operating, and in particular, starting their cars. 

Referred to as a generic shoulder relief device, the Push Button Ignition system is designed to aid amputees with an upper extremity amputation by having a start/stop feature which replaces the very awkward and uncomfortable manoeuvre of twisting the ignition key with a prosthesis. The aim of the project was to design a microprocessor based control system to interpret the button press and control the ignition, starting and stopping process. This relatively straight-forward installation can be easily installed by a qualified auto electrician and will not affect the resale of the vehicle. Steve Liggett works in the Transport Technology Department at Unitec Applied Technology in Auckland. Download Steve’s report:

 Push Start to Go: Generic Shoulder Relief Device (PDF, 1,971 KB)