I am a graduate student in the School of Visual Art's MFA Design program.
I have formed an online community of volunteers who are enthusiastic about hacking/modding that can take donated new and used toys and modify them to become a prosthetic arm for a child amputee in a developing nation who would otherwise have nothing. I have named the group Mod Squad.
I don't expect these to be the most advanced high functioning arms but they are better than nothing. My goal is to help a child go from being the kid without an arm to the kid with this awesome arm made from toys. Plus it is a way to use existing materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
I started a group on instructables.com, to view it go to www.instructables.com/group/modsquad/
I hope this will attract the right people and serve as a space for collaboration. On here you will see an arm that one of my classmates made out of the toy Toobers and Zots. I think it is a great start and was less than $19.99 to make.
On average in the US, a body-powered, above-elbow prosthesis can cost $15,000. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) manufactures lower cost prosthesis but they still cost about $1,000.*
We can work together to re-use existing materials and give these children a new arm.
So please contact me if you have any tips, suggestions, toy donations or want to join the Mod Squad!