Researchers debut affordable prosthetic socket from plastic waste

August 26, 2019

The plastic waste problem plaguing our world has been put to some good use – lightweight, breathable prosthetic sockets have been recently made and would undoubtedly bolster public health and welfare.

Chiefly engineered by a UK-based researcher, Dr. K. Kandan, from De Montfort University, found that the material from discarded plastic water bottles could be spun into polyester yarns which were suitable to be moulded into prosthetic sockets. Dr. Kandan tried these out on two disabled male patients in India, who were very impressed by the prosthetic.

According to the boys, the attachment was easy to walk with, and allowed air to flow to the rest of their leg, which was ideal for the hot climate in India.

The plastic waste socket is also incredibly cheap – one can be produced for as little as US$12 apiece, much more affordable than most which cost around US$6,000. Dr. Kandan and colleagues hope to trial the design on larger groups of low-/middle-income people, in different countries, since the source material is easily acquired.

“There are many people in developing countries who would really benefit from quality artificial limbs – in identifying cheaper materials, we could restore mobility to the needy,” said Dr. Kandan.

To date, other uses of plastic waste include using unrecyclable trash to make office furniture, portable speakers and temporary shelters for use at music festivals.


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