Helping Hands

Recycled Plastic Transforms into Prosthetics




MarinaGrigorivna/Shutterstock.com

The emerging technology of three-dimensional (3-D) printing can benefit the world in many ways. Re:Purpose for Good, in Australia, creates robotically 3-D printed prosthetic devices from recycled plastic and e-waste. It’s difficult to customize prosthetics, so more invasive surgery is often needed to make standard sizes fit the patient. Other companies produce 3-D printed  prosthetic hands and arms, but Re:Purpose for Good customizes both hands and feet at a much lower cost.

The company’s robotics and prosthetics engineer Gerardo Montoya, who had been working on 3-D printing prosthetics for children in Mexico, merged the idea with a desire to do something about the 8 million tons of plastic entering the oceans. Along with plastic waste, they also use e-waste such as discarded smartphones that have all the circuitry and microprocessors needed for advanced features. The company even plans to teach their prosthetic-making process to children as part of their science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) curriculum, so they can learn 3-D printing skills. They’re making it open source so more people can get involved without patent restrictions.


This article appears in the May 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Waterborne Drugs

In urban streams, the presence of pharmaceuticals, including painkillers, stimulants, antihistamines and antibiotics, is causing microbial communities to morph and become resistant to drugs.

Women Warriors

The first majority-female anti-poaching unit in South Africa is saving rhinos and with it, the moral fabric of communities.

Obsolete Packaging

A British supermarket chain plans to drastically lower its use of plastic packaging in 1,000 of its own-label products.

All That Glitters

Decorative plastic glitter and the microbeads used in scrubs and shower gels pose a threat to fish and oceans, say scientists.

Love Rocks

People are hand-painting stones with uplifting messages and planting them randomly in public spaces.

Add your comment:

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT