Nashville teen Grayson Rothenberger has invented a lightweight and more lifelike prosthetic leg using scotch tape, bubble wrap and a hairdryer. While most artificial legs cost thousands of dollars, Grayson's costs only $11.
8th Grader Uses Bubble Wrap to Make "Skin" for Artificial Legs
ANN CURRY, anchor:
TODAY'S AMERICAN STORY WITH BOB DOTSON comes from Nashville, Tennessee, where an eighth grader has invented something that has the potential to help thousands of people, and you may not believe the material he uses.
BOB DOTSON reporting:
Simplicity is the mark of genius. Grayson Rothenberger is changing the world with scissors, Scotch tape and a souped up hair dryer. He's found a way to make artificial legs look real for less, a lot less.
Mr. JIM McELHINEY (Nashville Orthotic & Prosthetic Services): Just remember to just bring this up to about here.
DOTSON: Jim McElhiney makes leg covers for 1,000 bucks.
Mr. GRAYSON ROTHENBERGER: Maybe about that wide?
DOTSON: Grayson's cost 11.
Mr. McELHINEY: It never entered my mind or anybody else's mind to try to do anything with bubble wrap like this.
DOTSON: What'd he say?
Mr. ROTHENBERGER: I think this is pretty cool to be able to say that I did this with bubble wrap. Who would have thought, bubble wrap?
DOTSON: Or that they made red carpets out of the stuff. Grayson is literally walking on air because his design beat out 800 others in a nationwide competition, earning him a $10,000 savings bond.
Unidentified Man: We're always a little slow to give out money.
DOTSON: Grayson's got time. He's just turned 15.
Mr. ROTHENBERGER: And I guess I can say if I do my job right, the person who has this can walk out their door saying, `Hey, I get to be a normal person today.'
Grayson isn't just heading back to the classroom for grins and high-fives. This summer he takes his $11 leg covers to Ghana in West Africa where his parents have a clinic that makes and donates artificial legs. Grayson's design solves a very real problem.
Mr. ROTHENBERGER: Here in the states we see someone with a robotic looking leg or arm, we're like, `Hey, that's kind of cool.' Over there they're treated as outcasts.
DOTSON: And can't get work. Grayson's design would make their artificial legs look more natural, but first his parents must persuade the people who work in their clinic.
Man: I'm trying visualize this conversation across the ocean and...
DOTSON: A 15-year-old boy teaching them how to do their job.
Man: `Peter, what is this bubble--this plastic you got to put on our legs? This is no good.'
DOTSON: Jim McElhiney who teaches those African technicians, isn't worried.
Mr. McELHINEY: It's going to be a great boon for those folks.