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When high-school students get bored it can only lead to one thing… The design of a new, fully-articulating prosthetic leg made from bike parts that cost a fraction of a professionally manufactured leg. Parker Owen’s Saturday night boredom turned into looking at picture on the Internet… pictures of bicycle schematics and prosthetic design. Now, he has a provisional patent on the prosthetic leg, plans to make more and the goal to take several with him on a summer mission trip to Honduras where he’ll manufacture 20-30 additional legs over the week-long trip.


Parker is a student at the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science (ASMS). In the video below, Parker says, “I don’t really see this as the next big thing or the greatest invention in the world.” Well Parker. We’re pretty sure that the thousands of people who are going to benefit from this in the future will think so. The first leg prototype took him 5 hours to build. It uses the seat and seat post for the foot, ankle and lower leg with intertubes acting as the tendon and muscles. He’s built adjustablility into the design with both the tension and length able to accommodate the wearer.

Of course, this prosthetic, as it is, would have a tough time meeting the Class I medical device regulations in the United States, but it certainly would be possible for Parker to create a similar design using similar materials in order to register the device through the FDA. If anyone has been through this process or can provide some insight for him, please contact him through ASMS.









Thanks to Jason Foutch for sending this in!
Source/Images: Alabama.com

Filed under: DESIGN FAB

  • I made a tack board of sorts once with bike inner-tubes stretched across it… This is way more awesome. I want to see this thing in use!

  • Josh M

    Yeah, I’d love to see how it holds up. Was thinking, those zip-ties will only last so long. It certainly looks more rugged than some commercial versions though. Needs a 3D printed cover Jeff 😉

  • Ben_Druce

    That’s really quite remarkable. This kid has smarts. And he’s still in high-school. Bravo!

  • Guest
  • Ben_Druce

    Here’s a video (at the bottom of the page) showing the some of the legs functions: http://www.asms.net/

  • You can buy a metric butt-load of zip-ties for the cost difference between that prototype and a class 1 FDA-approved prosthetic, though. It may not go far in the US, at least not through normal insurance channels, but around the globe the need is huge given constant warfare and ever-present landmines.

  • Josh M

    Too right! and you can’t underestimate the power of duct tape.

  • Nils Hitze

    EPIC! I would love to see what Chris Chapel & Elliott Kristan could do with it: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/anthromod/3d-printed-robotic-hand & openexo.com