The Days Of Ugly Artificial Limbs Are Over - If You Want It
I guess most of you still remember the days when artificial limbs - generally speaking - were ugly. Designed for function, not for style. They were off the shelf models with a standard look. While many prosthetists offered some sort of cover or another, more often than not they tried to imitate the look of the remaining limb. And often, very often, it wasn‘t even a good imitation.
Three Simple Options
People who wanted to have something a bit more special were basically left with one of the following options.
Stickers were by far the easiest way to give your prosthesis a different look. Although there were strict limits to how much a few stickers could improve the look of the artificial limb, it was at least a start.
Painting the prosthesis was another option, possible on some models, but not on all. I had my first swimming leg airbrushed by a friend. And I loved it. A custom design that caught people‘s eyes. And while I have outgrown the leg/socket years ago, I still keep it. Guess I am a bit emotional about it.
DIY covers were for the ones who had a bit more talent in handling tools and a variety of materials. I have seen quite a number of covers people had built for themselves. Many of them were very creative in their designs, well done in term of quality and craftsmanship, often complementing the personality of the amputee wearing them.
And while amputees still have these options, things have enormously improved in recent years. Especially 3-D printing was a breakthrough. And small companies sensing a market, talking to amputees and what they want and then having the guts to give it a go.
Cool Covers Are Conquering The Market
Here is short overview of some of these companies. I am in touch with some of them. And over the coming months we will showcase some of these companies and their products more in detail here on the blog.
The one that really caught my eye in recent months is Alleles. The people behind Alleles describe themselves as artists, not prosthetists; as a team of fashion junkies, totally obsessed with design. They bring a lively new approach to the whole issue of prosthetic covers.
Formprosthetics from Melbourne/Australia is another promising company to watch, offering a wide range of styles and colours.
Anatomic Studios from Malmö/Sweden offers an good range of standard models. In addition amputees can order fully customised covers.
UNYQ offer a range of covers for below knee and above knee amputees. Simpler in style than some of the other companies, they have something to suit most tastes.
Idethnos is a young company from Brazil whose covers recently won the prestigious Red Dot Award for outstanding design.
And if you want something even special - as in really special - The Alternative Limb Project is the door to knock on.
Post by Bjoern Eser, the creator of The Active Amputee.