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How Researchers Are Turning Plastic Bottles into Prosthetic Limbs

Did you know that there are around a billion people worldwide that have a disability? This staggering figure is accompanied by the fact that there are up to 190 million disabled people who encounter significant difficulties daily. Furthermore, it has been estimated that 80% of people suffering from disability are from low and middle-income nations. There is a notable need for affordable prosthetics now more than ever.

To meet these demands, researchers have now come up with an innovative way to make prosthetic limbs out of plastic bottles. The aim is not only focused on providing affordable healthcare but also tackling the plastic waste problem. Dr. K Kandan, an expert from De Montfort University (DMU) along with Global Challenges Research Funding (GCRF) and Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) are responsible for this project. The research used recycled plastic bottles to create a one of a kind prosthetic limb socket. It is made by grinding plastic bottles and use to spin polyester yarns. These yarns are then heated to form a solid material that can be molded into lightweight prosthetic limbs.

 The current industry average is £5,000 for each prosthetic socket whereas, the cost of creating them this way is a mere £10. According to Dr. Kandan, this quantum leap could bridge the gap of high-performance prosthetics that are expensive and affordable ones that are not durable or high-quality. This incredible innovation comes as a boon at a time when over 100 million people worldwide are estimated to have their limbs amputated. Two of the main reasons are traffic accidents and diabetes.

To carry out trails, Dr. Kandan, along with his team of experts traveled to India. The prosthetic limbs where tries on two patients and both were impressed by it. They said that they could walk with ease due to the lightweight nature of the prosthetics. What’s more, the design allowed for airflow to the rest of the leg which is a plus point considering the hot climate of India. Dr. Kandan is now aiming to conduct large-scale research to adapt his design to meet the individual patient’s requirements. He added, “We want to further develop the design so that the prosthetic limb can be custom-made to meet each patient’s needs.”


This innovation is just one of many that were made possible due to plastic. It is clear that plastic has time and again proved to be an essential material and contributed to making our lives convenient. If you are in the plastic business, then Plastivision India 2020 is a great platform for you to showcase your product range and network with industry professionals. Book your booth today!


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