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A new chapter in robotics: scrap-made prosthetics

Australia – We’ve all heard about recycled content and we’ve all heard about 3-D printed products. Now, an Australian start-up company is combining the best of both worlds to create 3-D printed artificial limbs made almost entirely from scrap plastics.

A prosthetic hand doesn’t come cheap, costing as much as AU$ 4000 (US$ 3000) when manufactured conventionally, notes Sara Rickards, co-founder of RE:PURPOSE FOR GOOD. But according to the biomedical scientist and environmental engineer, a 3D printed hand made from recycled plastic will cost only around AU$ 200 (US$ 150).

The production process fuses engineering precision with repurposed 3D printed waste plastic, and upcycled e-scrap such as wires and computer motherboards. Embedding electronics into the limbs makes them robotic prosthetics instead of rigid, semi-static prosthetics.

All of them are custom-made for each individual so they will move, grip and respond to their owner. Already, more than AU$ 10 000 has been donated via RE:PURPOSE FOR GOOD’s online crowdfunding campaign.

The new venture says it is ‘all about turning plastic waste into moving gold’ and, above all, ‘making disabled people able-bodied’ by ‘opening up a world of movement and action’.

Curious? Watch the video to see how these scrap-inspired limbs are made.

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