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Sustainable solutions: How hemp is being used to make prosthetic limbs

human plant solutions hemp prosthetic limbs
Posted at 5:34 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 10:07:09-04

Kyle Trivisonno is one of the brains at Human Plant Solutions. He's currently working on a project that uses hemp to make prosthetic limbs.

“Having something that moves and kind of transitions with their gate cycle is kind of an ideal property," Trivisonno said.

There are more than 2 million Americans who have lost an arm or a leg or were born without one of their limbs. Millions more have health issues, such as diabetes, that could lead to amputation in the future.

Trivisonno and Sam Spallitta have devoted their new business to providing an alternative to high-cost options.

“In general, I think that there are a lot of ways for a company like mine that really wants to provide solutions, especially customized solutions with innovative materials. I mean the door is wide open for us to make water foots, swimming adapting thing and we really want to do that and make it cost-effective," Spallitta said.

“Everybody hates carbon fiber. You’ve got to wear a suit and full respiration and still with all that PPE on. I don’t care what ventilation you have you’re still going to be covered in that carbon dust which is extremely dangerous to work with and really just not comfortable," Trivisonno said.

It was no mistake that their headquarters are in Kansas. Rod Kreie is the COO and a Newton, Kansas city commissioner.

“Well we’re known for being able to grow anything," Kreie said. “We just have the soil and the climate and the ability to irrigate if the need be that a lot of states don’t have.”

Currently, the spun hemp fiber is being manufactured elsewhere, but it will eventually be grown in Kansas.

“We’re contacting and meeting with different people to try to create a network that will allow us to grow and process our own hemp and a fiber that we can use not just for these devices but what we think will become the standard for making prosthetics in the entire industry," Kreie said.

These entrepreneurs are ready for the U.S. to be home to the next evolution of sustainable solutions and they say their current work is just beginning.