Project Circleg is more than just a prosthetic leg. It is about empowering people to enjoy freedom of mobility, to generate social and the environmental values, and to celebrate diversity in all shapes and colours. Our values are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Empowering freedom of mobility
Project Circleg’s activities are impact-driven and pursue the goal of holistically addressing the challenge of prosthetics in low to middle income countries. Project Circleg’s vision is to enhance «freedom of mobility» for amputees, with the first emphasis on East Africa. We aim to provide a highly functional and affordable lower-limb prosthetic system, meeting amputee-specific local needs and circumstances. «Freedom of mobility» has strong implications to the amputee’s life: it improves beneficiary well-being, empowering them to live an active and self-determined life with access to new opportunities: education, jobs and social life.
Creating value for people and the environment
Project Circleg sources locally recycled post-consumer plastic as a resource for prosthetics to simultaneously satisfy a social demand being appropriate prosthetics and raising awareness for sustainable plastic use. Through the local manufacturing and assembly of the Circleg prosthetic system, we generate value and establish resource management in line with the principles of circular economy. This improves the availability of prosthetic products and services, while simultaneously reducing the ordering time and costs for our customers. The provided technical assistance and knowledge-transfer will help orthopaedic service providers ensure high-quality and sustainable prosthetic care, thus reducing inequalities within and between countries.
Celebrating diversity in all shapes and colours
Project Circleg strives to raise awareness with regards to people with disabilities and work towards a more disability inclusive society. We believe in collaboration as a key factor for reaching the most challenging and pressing goals, and therefore continuously undertake positive synergies between people, institutions, universities and governments. We actively celebrate diversity and deliberately stand up against any kind of discrimination and stigmatisation. Join us in collectively forming an inclusive, mindful and respectful society.
The need for appropriate prosthetic technologies
Prosthetic and orthotic care is a need all over the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 0.5% of any population globally requires prostheses and orthoses and rehabilitation treatment which corresponds to a number of 35–40 million people globally. Main reasons for such high amputation rates are trauma events such as traffic accidents, vascular diseases like diabetes, and inadequate medical care provision which ends in an amputation. Furthermore, an estimated 80% of people with disabilities worldwide live in low- to medium-income countries, whereby only 1 out of 10 people in need have access to assistive products, including prostheses and orthoses. Without access to such products, many individuals in need are confined to their homes and live dependent, excluded lives, increasing the impact of the impairment and disability on the person, family and society.
— World Health Organization (WHO)
Design tools for a positive impact
The journey of Project Circleg started as an industrial design bachelor-degree project by Fabian Engel and Simon Oschwald at the Zurich University of the Arts in March 2018. Simon and Fabian were interested in social design and thought it is amazing to use design tools to have a positive impact on people’s life. At the same time they had a mutual interest in plastic, a resource that has a lot of potential when considering the circularity of the material. So, they combined the recycling of plastic with the idea of creating a meaningful product. In the course of the process and in a lively exchange with various experts from the plastics industry and prosthetics, the idea developed into an ambitious endeavor with enormous potential for social and ecological impact. Read the whole story here.
«Social Design at its finest.»
«Behind Project Circleg is a dedicated team that works with an interdisciplinary approach in order to make artificial limbs not only modular and reusable, but also available for those who need it the most. With a great social impact, they show innovative spirit in finding new ways of production.»
— Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council
Design Prize Switzerland 2021
– Winner in the Category Going Circular Economy
No Waste Challenge 2021
– Nomination & Top 10 from 1409 submitted entries
Cybathlon Global Edition 2020
– Winner of the leg prosthesis race
Together we are better 2019
– Winner of the Start-Up Prize by DEZA and SECO
Swiss Student Sustainability Challenge 2018
– Winner of the Challenge
Progress Prize at Dubai Global Grad Show 2018
– Nomination & Top 10 for the Progress Prize
Falling Walls Lab Zurich 2018
– Winner of the Falling Walls Lab Zurich
James Dyson Award 2018
– Switzerland’s Winner of the James Dyson Award
University of Zurich Innovators Camp 2018
– Award for Excellent Business Pitch
Student Award 2018
– Department Design at the Zurich University of the Arts
Young Researcher Award 2018
– Institute for Design Research at the Zurich University of the Arts