A not-for-profit charity has developed a top idea for giving amputees a helping hand.
Envision has teamed up with community partners including the Seddon branch of Bendigo Bank to deliver the Helping Hands project, turning recycled plastic bottle caps into prosthetic hands and arms.
The project uses a $300 3D printer and a handmade machine to turn bottle caps into filament, which is then used to custom-make hands that enable the wearer to carry out basic tasks such as holding a fork or picking up a cup.
The team has set an ambitious target of collecting 1 million caps to help create 100 prosthetic limbs for children in disadvantaged communities throughout Cambodia and other Third World countries.
Joe Ferlazzo, who helped develop the prototype, said it was a cheap, simple concept that could change somebody’s life.
Mr Ferlazzo said it took about 500 grams worth of recycled bottle caps, and 40 hours of work, to create one hand.
“It’s so important for a child or adult to feel complete, and this does that,” he said.
Envision manager Sean Teer said the project also trained and mentored long-term unemployed job seekers.
Suzanne Saunders of Seddon Community Bank Branch said the local community response has already been fantastic.
“We were only going to run the campaign for April, but will now continue it indefinitely.”
Drop off points for the plastic caps include the bank, Footscray North Primary School, Footscray City Primary School, West Footscray Roosters Football Club and The Yarraville Club.