Wednesday, 16 October 2013

HIS OWN CREATION: Improving lives and enhancing human creativity does it for Joel Sadler

PURE GENIUS: "I want to see more people innovate without any special tools."

When he was 17, Campion College alum Joel Sadler won a scholarship to take up engineering studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he quickly excelled. But it wasn't until he made the move to Stanford University to read for a Master's that his innate gifts really emerged, culminating in the design of the JaipurKnee prosthetic, a radically affordable and quietly revolutionary knee joint for amputees. In addition to receiving worldwide recognition, Sadler's creation was honored by Time Magazine in 2009 as one of the top 50 inventions of that year. 

Now 29, and serving as a BioX Fellow at Stanford (where he explores how to enhance human creativity with better prototyping tools), Sadler was a presenter at last weekend's TedEx Jamaica conference in Kingston, where he chatted with TALLAWAH about innovation, inspiration and his mission of improving people's lives: 

TALLAWAH: For me, prototyping can be summarized as an art of solving complex problems with simple methodology. 
Sadler: Exactly. Prototyping is all about taking small steps with the things that you have available right now. So in Jamaica its is important to use what we have to be resourceful. We'd be surprised about what we can make. 

In 2009, Time selected your JaipurKnee as one of the best new innovations of that year. 
It's one of the best things you can get to have; to have your work recognized outside. And I think it is important to keep focussed on achieving great things. 

Indeed. So what new life-changing device are you working on now? 
I'm working on things that help create devices like the JaipurKnee. I want to see more people, especially those with less of a technical background be able to innovate without any special tools. 

Across the globe? 
It's early days, but my dream is to be able to see that anyone anywhere can create things that they have in mind. 

You're soon to turn 30. How do you feel about where life has taken you? 
It's great. I love every day. And it's really exciting to be able to work on improving people's lives. Turning next year, I plan to take it one moment at a time, one step at a time.

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