Hybrid Systems – an interim prosthesis for humanitarian aid


According to estimates in the Landmine Monitor, 15,000 to 20,000 persons become victims of land mines and cluster munitions every year. More than 95% of them are civilians. Adult victims need new prostheses every three to five years, children, because they still are growing, as often as every six to 12 months. Supplies of these prostheses and supplementary resources for the affected individuals are insufficient and expensive. The model of an interim prosthesis for lower extremities is an attempt to remedy this situation. The concept is unbiased in terms of cultural differences and does away with vague attempts at providing explanations. The prosthesis is easy to use, can be adjusted by the affected persons themselves, and can be manufactured at low cost. The central idea behind this product is to help people to help themselves.

Thanks to its flexibility, the interim prosthesis eliminates obstacles and facilitates access to overall support. The concept revolves around the immense psychological damage observed in the affected individuals. Since they require constant assistance, even family members who have been affected become a burden that is hard to bear, which is why the injured often are cast out and, thus, become displaced socially. The aim of the interim prosthesis is to counter this phenomenon by being encouraging, user-friendly and by not requiring professional maintenance.

Tilmann Beuscher

Diploma thesis 2008

Hochschule Darmstadt,
Fachbereich Gestaltung
Studiengang Industrial Design

Prof. Tino Melzer


WaterDonut & Ultra Pipe – mobile water treatment for developing countries


This cost-effective mobile system for treating water was designed for use in developing countries. It can disinfect contaminated water without the use of electricity or chemicals. The system is made up of two units that can be used separately or together.

The WaterDonut uses the UV rays and the heat of the sun to disinfect water, a process referred to as the SODIS effect. The sun’s UV rays penetrate the water through the transparent upper layer and – in combination with the sun’s heat enhanced by the black lower part of the container – reliably disinfect it. The one-material solution produced in a blow-molding process can be recycled easily at the end of its lifecycle. The containers can be stacked for convenient storage. If mounted, the containers form a barrel which requires little strength to roll.

UltraPipe can be used on cloudy days since its pressure-operated membrane cleans water without the need for sun. However, the membrane must be replaced annually. When used in combination with the durable WaterDonut, the UltraPipe facilitates constant use.

Verena Brückner

Bachelor thesis 2009

Hochschule für Gestaltung
Schwäbisch Gmünd
Studiengang Produktgestaltung

Prof. Gerhard Reichert
Prof. Franz Bigger
Dipl.-Ing. Norbert Maier

Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG

Schwarm – a system to effectively eliminate oil slicks


Schwarm consists of a series of unmanned buoys that can act quickly, self-sufficiently and for the most part independent of the weather. Thanks to its nautical form, Schwarm does not require handles which has a stabilizing effect on its construction and the ability to stack the units.

The buoys can be stored at airports close to sea coasts. From there, they are thrown into the ocean from directly above an oil slick. Once they hit the water’s surface, they form a star-shaped tube system. Thanks to its fractal form, the grid between the tubes with its diameter of 50 meters can bind approximately 2,000 square meters of oil without harmful chemicals and, thus, can prevent the oil from spreading.

From virtually any type of boat, the buoys can be located via radar and GPS and retrieved along with the oil using a hook. Sea birds who usually are attracted to the oil are kept away through ultrasound waves.

Boris Innecken

Diploma thesis 2009

Hochschule Darmstadt
Fachbereich Gestaltung
Studiengang Industrial Design

Prof. Tino Melzer