BYU students making prostheses out of PVC pipes

by | Jun. 13, 2011

News from Utah

A group of BYU students who decided to spend part of their free time in college finding an inexpensive way to build prosthetic limbs are now traveling to developing countries helping people walk again.

The idea started about three years ago when some students started meeting in the wind tunnel lab behind the Clyde building to talk about plastics and prostheses, said Douglas Wright.

Their goal was to help amputees in developing countries walk again, since many can't afford the thousands of dollars it takes to buy a carbon-fiber prosthetic limb.

Wright said you can walk on anything from a pirate stump to a crutch, but it's not comfortable. So after months of testing they decided their material of choice was PVC pipe. It can be melted and molded, plus it's firm but flexible.

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