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Toys/ Materials Answered

Originally Mod Squad was born out of the idea to use donated toys to create prosthetic arms because there is an over abundance of them in the US, they are fairly low cost, they provide a variety of materials, and children would enjoy the way they look as opposed to more industrial materials. However a big concern is their durability. Share your thoughts/findings/suggestions about using toys. Are there other existing materials that are easy to access and would be good to re-use but would also make something that a child would like?


One possible assistance (not necessarily prosthetic in nature) you might consider is reusing broken futons (go to a college any given move-in/move-out day and you'll find em in the dumpster). In particular, you can create very durable crutches out of the scrap metal. --Purduecer

Would ideas necessarily need to be limited to prosthetics, or would any form of assistance be welcome? I am personally not very good with molding, shaping, and construction materials in general, but I DO like to fiddle with the electronics. A quick idea, nothing concrete, just a starting thought, I have a simple electronic mechanism from an old toy police car. When weight (about 10-80 lbs) was placed on the car (a child about to play with the hand sized car, the lights and siren went off (it was not extremely loud, but somewhat authentic).
Anything that needed to be noticed when weight was placed on it (or taken off it....these things are pretty easily modified) would become both auditory and visually noticeable. Or does this belong in another group?

I think that is fantastic that you want to experiment beyond prosthetics, and yes any form of assistance is welcome. I think the idea of using this sound mechanism for auditory and visual sensory is really interesting, I'd love to see what you come up with it. I say go for it!

Ok, because a lot of my time is taken up with "working" this may be a bit slow in coming to any organized concept...but I will work on it when I can. Any suggested uses for what I was thinking of ?

I wonder if something like this could be useful is developing ProprioceptionProprioception, which is often lost when using a prosthetic limb.

I am intrigued....in what direction are you thinking. I personally have difficulties with some simple tasks like walking in an extremely dark room. Thankfully I have never been pulled over for a sobriety test, as I have tried on several occasions to touch my nose with eyes closed or to walk a line, and normally I fail to some extent. Although I am not technically handicapped (nor do I drink alcohol), I am, as they say in my area, doplic ;-) the one time I had a chance to score during a soccer game I was involved in, I STEPPED ON THE BALL :-)

Barbies! Melt them down and mold limbs out of the plastic. It's not so much fancy and enjoyable, but barbies are fairly durable, slightly flexible, and are the right color. In terms of design, kids love rhinestones. Get a bedazzler!

Oh yeah, great thinking, the color of the barbies is really perfect. Bedazzlers are definitely fun, thanks!


9 years ago

Oh... I was under the impression that you were collecting the unwanted toys and using the materials to cast new prosthetics. Lots of toys are made out of a variety of thermoplastics such as polyurethane, nylon, acrylic etc. that you could melt down and rotocast/slushcast into a mould. I wonder if a "melting pot" of various thermoplastics would set together. I'm not sure how you could quickly test for the plastic type though. I think toys would make a nice addition to regular looking prosthetics, since toys have all sorts of cool hinges and toggles that could be added or cast into for amusement factor. Hope this project works out well and you find the help you need.

Ahhh, this is a really interesting idea. I don't know why I never thought of using the materials in this way. This is great, thank you. Anyone wanna give this a shot?

Today I chatted over the phone with Timothy Evans, CEO of Arimed Orthotics & Prostetics, www.arimed.com One of the most valuable points he brought up in our conversation was that here in the United States some people are proud to show off their prosthetic because it has become more accepted. For instance he recently fitted someone with a red white and blue leg prosthetic, and has done many other colorful models in the past. However in the developing nations he has worked with more people who are trying to hide the fact that they are an amputee because it isn't as accepted as it is here. He volunteers with A Leg to Stand On, www.altso.org, they work with children in India, Haiti, Bangladesh,Colombia, Belize and India. He did talk about how they have used hands from baby dolls to make prosthetics for babies and very small children. He suggested I talk to the Executive Director of A Leg to Stand On, Meera Rao to get more insight into how arms made from toys would fit in culturally and if children would indeed want something unique and colorful. He also said she may have ideas about low cost ways to attach the prosthetic. In the mean time I will try to get in touch with more prosthetists who could help explore the attachment issues. I am hoping to find someone who will agree to let me film our conversation.