As technology surges forward, more and more opportunities are created for amputees in terms of prosthetic limbs and what they can offer. For some, the goal may not be just walking again after amputation, but to walk faster than before, run, jump, glide or skate. For the first time ever, bionics and 3D-printing can make this happen. We're taking steps to understand and influence the potential of prosthesis in today's tech-driven society, and have blueprints for some exciting products that could improve the lives of amputees dramatically. You can't walk down the street without seeing an advert for The Avengers, X-Men, Transformers or the latest superhero hit. We're saying that with the right ideas, partnerships and people, we can utilise technology to make today's real-life superheroes.
We have recently completed the first in a series of projects with R3nder Product Development - designing a 3D printed prosthetic cover for FYF team member Nikki. The cover was designed with Nikki’s input and is the same dimensions as her right leg, giving her the opportunity to look at her prosthetic as more of a fashion accessory. A 3D-printed cover may seem simple, but the confidence brought with it is game changing. Nikki now has a leg specific to her style and personality, a leg she can plan outfits around and a leg she can wear with pride. What if people begin to look at amputees with envy rather than sympathy?
This was the first step in AugMentors, a Finding Your Feet project where we work with individual amputees using technology to provide innovative prosthetics that are limb-itless - not confined to looking like a leg or arm, not just something to balance on to help them walk, but something that allows them to be better than before. The project will embrace differences and provide skillsets to amputees which were previously thought to be impossible. We will work closely with these individuals, mentoring them and building up their confidence and ability so that they can go out and change the world's perception of 'disability' and influence the next amputees.
Our next phase of the project is hover legs for double amputee Paul, who lost his ability to skate when he lost his legs but not his desire to. We are also working on a wheel leg, a musical instrument leg and various stylish prosthetics designed to enhance the look of the amputee rather than be hidden away.