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Ultra low-cost artificial leg developed

  |   Feb. 9, 2012 at 9:56 AM
TORONTO, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A Canadian scientist in Toronto has developed a lower-leg prosthetic that costs $50 to manufacture instead of the current $3,000.

The device for people who have lost a leg above the knee was designed by engineer Jan Andrysek of the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, the Toronto Star reported.

His design is called the Low-Cost Prosthetic Knee Joint and is made almost entirely of injection-molded thermoplastic.

"We can now mold all the pieces for a knee for about $15," he said, adding existing technology relies heavily on steel.

"The mechanisms and technologies used are based on designs from post-World War II," he said. "They have not changed in 50 years."

The prosthesis behaves like a real knee by locking into place by itself instead of the user having to manually lock it when standing. The plastic also makes it impervious to humidity and water, something Andrysek said would be of enormous benefit to recipients in tropical countries.

Last week, he was awarded a $100,000 research grant by Grand Challenges Canada, a non-profit organization funded by the federal government to refine the limb and define mass production specifications, the Star said.

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