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Making prosthetic limbs from recycled bottles


Recycling plastic to make new bottles is one thing, but using the material to create prosthetic limbs? That’s another. Two Swiss designers are using their skills to improve the lives of amputees.

Fabian Engel and Simon Oschwald travelled to Kenya, where they heard about the indignities people with prosthetic limbs faced in everyday life. Due to the high number of traffic accidents, amputations aren’t rare.

The cost of an artificial limb is prohibitively high for many people, and the restricted mobility that living with one leg brings, makes finding work difficult.

The two designers set themselves the challenge of coming up with a prosthesis that would be available at a fraction of the normal cost – using local labour and recycled materials. A visit to a vast rubbish dump in Nairobi cemented the idea of making use of materials that had been discarded.

But the intricacies of the design weren’t so easy to perfect, and the team almost gave up on the project. Now they credit collaboration with the people who will use their product, as the key to its success. is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events.

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SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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