Accessible design in prosthetics

Posted by: Tedstaff

In her inspiring 2009 TEDTalk, Aimee Mullins redefines what the body can be. Her prosthetic legs are a combination of form, function and aesthetic. She encourages designers to change the idea of “disability” and the definition of beauty by bringing their talents to both the science and the art of designing prosthetics.

In the comments on this TEDTalk, several members asked for more information about accessible prosthetics — new designs that will make artificial limbs available to everyone who needs them.

Since Mullins’ talk, we’ve kept our eyes peeled for innovative designs in prosthetics. We found an inspiring example from industrial designer Tillmann Beuscher. He built a temporary artificial leg made of cheap materials to “support world-wide victims of land mines and explosive remainings of war”. His design was a winner of the 2009 iF concept award. Check out pictures of the design and the limb at work here. — Bonnie Burke

Comments (4)

  • Joe Debnar commented on Nov 8 2011

    Aimee is of very few people who have taken their situation in life and actually turned it into something better. The rest of us mere mortals should take their examples to heart and do the same thing. Or at least attempt to do so……….

  • Camila moraga commented on May 9 2011

    Soy Camila de Chile estudio diseño gráfico, debo de decir que he convivido con la discapacidad, y siempre he sentido aquello que ella explica en esta presentación. Admirable fue por esos motivos por los que decidí estudiar diseño poder comunicar y cambiar un pensamiento tan erradicado en la sociedad actual

  • Rodney Myers commented on Jun 13 2009

    Ms. Mullins is neither disabled nor handicapped by any technical definition of the terms. In the rehabilitation world we would consider her double amputation an impairment. However, just as visual impairment is prevented from causing disability and handicap by corrective lenses, her “ambulatory impairment” is likewise “treated” by prosthetics. The most interesting and valuable part of her narrative is the assertion that these devices can be augmentative in all manner of performance amplifying and aesthetically enhancing ways. On reflection, it seems her talk embodies the entire TED ethos of technology, entertainment and design. She is a most remarkable woman.

  • Melanie Abbott commented on Apr 3 2009

    Bravo Aimee! Reminded me of another story I found about a girl who became a mermaid Wow!