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Prosthetic Foot Receives the World’s Biggest Design Award

  • Tuesday, 4th September 2007
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  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

Canadian designer Sébastien Dubois was presented with an Index: Award for Mobility for Each One, a prosthetic foot which costs only 8 US Dollars to produce.

Approximately 25 000 people, mostly civilians, are mutilated by landmines each year. Hundred of thousands of victims all over the world need proper prosthetic products in order to resume an active life. Unfortunately, a quality prosthesis usually costs between 1300 and 4000 US Dollars, which many do not have the economic means to afford.

However, Canadian designer Sébastien Dubois has designed a low-cost, high-quality model that can be locally produced for only 8 US Dollars.

Function and costs were the paramount design parameters in Dubois’ energy-return prosthetic foot. This type of prosthesis reproduces the impulse of the toes propelling the amputated leg and enables the user to move faster and even run. Add to that the low production costs and it is obvious why Dubois called his design “Mobility for Each One”.

In order to keep production costs down, “Mobility for Each One” can be produced in any conventional workshop, and the materials needed are easily available. The design, for instance, uses glass fibre instead of carbon fibre to reduce costs. The prosthetic foot can be fitted to various types of upper leg prosthetics and is developed especially to fit the standards of Red Cross.

At the INDEX: AWARD ceremony in Copenhagen, INDEX: jury Chairman and Associate Director at Arup Nille Juul-Sørensen praised not only the prosthesis, which refers to the human foot without trying to copy it, but the entire concept:

“Mobility for Each One has an appropriate form, carries the promise to have a huge impact on improving people’s lives and is elegantly designed to fit the context it is designed for. Dubois not only designed a product, but each aspect has been analyzed to simplify the final product, allowing production in any conventional local workshop using easy accessible materials.”

Although successfully tested by volunteers, Mobility for Each One is still just a prototype, and Dubois was proud to receive the INDEX: award, which may move his project into the next phase: “I feel very proud and am very honoured to win this award, as it, just as my project, aims to improve the quality of life. I hope the award will serve as a showcase and help Handicap International find the financing needed to optimize Mobility for Each One and to spread awareness of its fabrication techniques.”


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