Walter Sisulu pair invent ground breaking prosthetic leg

Rural folk to be spared travel blues

- By Yoliswa Sobuwa

Amputees from rural parts of the Eastern Cape will no longer have to travel long distances to have their prosthesis pylon changed in hospital.

Two final year medical orthotics and prosthetic students from Walter Sisulu University (WSU) Zandodumo Godlimpi, 24, and Siphosethu Mgwili, 23, from Tsolo have invented a ground breaking prosthetic leg which can be adjusted at home.

“I realised that our patients from deep rural areas don’t have travelling money and there are only three prosthetic centres in the province with only two that are considered to be functional. This means someone from deep rural areas has to go all the way to East London to have their prosthesis pylon changed.

“Some people have to wait for five years to get a prosthetic leg due to the lack of material,” she said.

Mgwili came up with an innovation that will allow amputees to adjust their own height in their homes to their comfortabl­e and functional height.

“This will also save government money as there wont be a need to order as much pylon or throwing them when they didn’t get the height right,” she said.

Godlimpi, 24, from Kokstad developed a pneumatic actuated below knee prostheses that uses pressurise­d air to aid movement of the foot up and down.

“This means the artificial leg utilizes compressed air to perform basic ankle motions which are heel up and heel down. The invention was inspired by how a paint boil can be projected from a paint ball gun using pressurise­d air and how calve muscles contract to bring about motion. I wanted to use the paint ball gun trigger mechanism to command the foot to perform certain movements,” he said.

The pair have also received the vice-chancellor’s recognitio­n award for their significan­t contributi­ons to WSU.

 ?? / SUPPLIED ?? Zanodumo Godlimpi and Siphosethu Mgwili helping prosthetic limbs innovation.
/ SUPPLIED Zanodumo Godlimpi and Siphosethu Mgwili helping prosthetic limbs innovation.

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