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The Bolivian women who knit parts for hearts


Stashed in: Awesome, Restore your faith in humanity., Heart, Knitta, please!, Knitta, PLEASE!, the new

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What a cool idea.

The indigenous Aymara women have centuries of experience of knitting and weaving distinctive woollen hats, sweaters and blankets.

Now, they are applying their expertise to a hi-tech medical product - which is used to seal up a "hole in the heart" which some babies are born with.

"We are very happy, we are doing something for someone so they can live," says knitter Daniela Mendoza, who weaves the tiny device in a special "clean room".

It takes her about two hours to make the Nit Occlud device which was designed by cardiologist Franz Freudenthal. He set up his clinic in La Paz to help children born with heart problems and so far he has saved hundreds of lives.

The device, known as an occluder, looks similar to a top hat and is used to block the hole in the patient's heart.

Most standard occluders are made on an industrial scale - but Freduenthal's version is so small and intricate that it's technically tricky to mass produce.

So he enlisted an army of Bolivia's traditional craft knitters to make them by hand.

The ingenuity to solve problems with materials and skills at hand... how awesome is that?

That is super awesome!

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