Tag Archives: Prosthetics

Designer Prosthetics

Jensen hand (credit: Engadget)

Everyone who knows me knows I’m big on design, a proponent of the interdependence of form and function. Strict utilitarianism just doesn’t move me, or anyone else for that matter. Working well and looking good are not mutually exclusive, and if something achieves both goals then that’s a triumph of both form and function.

Now, we’re seeing design principles applied to the development of prosthetics, and it absolutely beautiful. The latest example I’d like to present is form a company called Open Bionics, who is making prosthetics that are not only especially functional, but easy on the eyes as well.

We can even bypass the neat prosthetics they make for kids that are modeled after superheroes or movie characters. You can see in the image below they have designs from Iron Man, Disney’s Frozen, and Star Wars. What’s really significant about designs like these is not that the designs themselves or even that they can be applied in such an interesting way, but that kids who are missing a limb are no longer the target of teasing or ridicule because of their condition, but rather a source of interest and awe, perhaps even some envy of the other kids. How the times have changed!

Themed prosthetics

Themed prosthetics

I’m all for prosthetics, but come on now

I’ll post, and we’ll talk about, some amazing prosthetics that can give almost a normal life back to people who have lost limbs from disease or trauma, but this just might be going to far.

At MIT they have developed a set of prosthetic fingers for people who still have all their fingers. And the prosthetic only offers two additional digits. It’s so you can have seven fingers instead of five. Why would you need this? Well, to stir your coffee for one, as the image below, blatantly stolen from the source using only five fingers, shows. Or perhaps if you have an especially troublesome itch, or perhaps if you have to poke 3 1/2 people in the eye all at once.


They are neat in their way; they’re controlled by a glove worn over the hand, so they exert the same amount of force and grip that the other fingers are exerting. I suppose there could be real applications for this, I just can’t think of what they might be. Still, progress.


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