Keynote Speakers

Speaker Profile:

Clinical Professor Niwes Nantachit is a medical doctor with special training in Hematology and currently is the Secretary General of Prostheses Foundation of H.R.H. The Princess Mother. His two terms of serving Chiang Mai University as president of the university provided him with the opportunity to become the chairman of several foundations and associations in addition to the area of education administration. His medical administrative experiences include being the Dean of Faculty of Medicine, the Director of Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital, the largest hospital in northern Thailand, and the Special Health Center, at Chiang Mai University. He also served the Thai parliament as a member of National Legislative Assembly contributed to drafting several acts and bills in education and health care.

Topic: The Prostheses Foundation of H.R.H. The Princess Mother: innovations from the past, present, and future


The presentation displays innovative prostheses that the prostheses foundation had fabricated in the past, including what is presently being produced today, and what can be expected in the future. The Prostheses Foundation of H.R.H. The Princess Mother, founded by H.R.H. Princess Sri Nagarindra and H.R.H. Princess Galyani Vadhna in 1992, provides prostheses to amputees of all races free of charge. Presently, we are honored to have H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn lead the foundation as an honorary president. During the foundation’s beginnings, the prosthetic sockets were produced by gauze bandages dipped into liquid polystyrene which was made from waste plastic bottles dissolved in acetone. This innovative approach was in response to the initial economic challenges that required the costs of prostheses to be reduced, as imported materials were too expensive for impoverished amputees. 

The sand casting technique is an innovative technique for prosthetic production that has been adopted by the foundation in 2008 and is used to fabricate below-knee prostheses. This technique minimizes both costs and time since all materials used can be sourced within the nation, and the below-knee prostheses can be produced within a day. It is also environmentally friendly because of the use of recycled sand that replaces the waste plastic material used and is an example of a Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) model. Other components used are manufactured in Thailand and utilize appropriate technology, certified by Thailand Industrial Standard Institute, opening the way forward for more research and development within the nation. 

The Prostheses Foundation aims to introduce biomedical engineering into prosthetic devices and has been working closely with the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) to develop an electric-driven motorized arm prosthesis, using both mechanical engineering technology and a 3-dimensional printing method. In the future, the two institutes will add a strain gauge sensor and an electromyographic sensor, developed by Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Science, into this prosthetic arm to give even greater control of its movements for more sophisticated tasks. As a pilot project, this collective knowledge will later be adapted to design and develop the components for both the arm and leg prostheses of the foundation. This innovation could set a new standard for Thailand’s prosthetic and orthotic technology, bettering amputees’ quality of life. In addition, this innovation will reduce the government’s cost of amputee care as the need for importing technology is reduced. Lastly, this approach also serves the foundation’s aim of developing prefabricated prostheses including sockets, which will lessen the time needed for servicing amputees, reduce waste and increase production efficiency.