Anatomy and Art

a blog by Sara Egner

The Open Prosthetics Project

without comments

A friend of mine sent me a couple of links last night…

The first, was written for Gizmodo by Aimee Mullins.  “Is Choosing a Prosthesis So Different than Picking a Pair of Glasses?”

The second was a response article by Kevin Connolly posted at Boingboing.  “Open Source Prosthetics”

Both speak to the expense of prosthetic limbs, and the difficulty of obtaining a quality prosthesis, let alone two, especially through standard insurance coverages.  Aimee on the one hand, has taken the route of obtaining and trying out every new prosthetic technology available.  In her own words…

“To be frank, since my teenage years, I have pursued each and every opportunity to be a guinea pig, trading the use of my body as a testing ground for new technologies for the privilege of using them. Not one pair of my legs is covered by insurance; not one pair of my legs is considered ‘medically necessary.’ ”

Kevin on the other hand, speaks of growing up with an interest in finding simple affordable solutions to his physical condition.  In his own words…

“I remember always feeling a mix of awkwardness and obligation when I slid into the big, wobbly, pair of legs. The only element that kept me in prosthetics was the reminder from doctors, family, and therapists of the time and money they took to create.
At every possible opportunity, I would abandon the legs in favor of running on my hands — or later in life, using a skateboard. I found that the practicality and affordability of these two options allowed for more financial and logistic freedom for getting around the everyday world.”

I suppose the two articles represent a sense of designer work versus open source.  So while Aimee brings attention to her Ossur legs and her Dorset legs, both fantastic designs in prosthetic limbs, Kevin brings attention to The Open Prosthetics Project, a more DIY approach to dealing with amputation or limb deficiency.

Personally, I hadn’t ever heard of this before, and I can’t help but feel a little excited about it.  I’ve seen a lot of really good things come out of open source and DIY designs and I’m really interested to see what comes out of this.

**Just a quick edit here – I just learned that Aimee Mullins was interviewed on The Colbert Report, not even two weeks after this was written here.  You can see the interview here…

Written by Sara

April 3rd, 2010 at 3:34 pm