Challenging the Uncanny by 3D printing prosthetics

Bespoke Innovations have introduced a paradigm shift in prosthetic limbs

Bespoke innovations

Scott Summit an industrial designer formed Bespoke Innovations with Kenneth Trauner, an orthopedic surgeon in order to affect positive change in the medical prosthetic industry using 3D printing & 3D scanning. Their focus was firmly on creating a positive user experience, through customisation. More images and video after the jump…

james-motorcycle-close-up-leg

Bespoke fabricates prosthetic fairings to the shape and form of the amptee’s sound leg. Returning to the prosthetic leg contour and form, where previously only a titanium pole resided.

Bespoke’s case studies from customers are incredibly inspiring – one man named James lost his leg in a motorcycle accident 20 years ago. Upon meeting with Bespoke he commissioned a carbon fiber leg that would fit in with the visual aesthetic of his Harley and tattoos. A hybrid human/machine aesthetic emerged that is so striking that James often receives comments in the street about how cool his leg looks.

chad mtn bike 2_0

Bespoke explains their product offering simply – “Fairings express confidence, creativity and individuality. Fairings help erase the wall of awkwardness that can disconnect the amputee from the world around. Fairings invite interest, but for all the right reasons. An uncomfortable glance is now an admiring gaze.”

Bespoke Innovation’s work is not merely a novel, new art form. Anyone familiar with the concept of the Uncanny Valley will understand the intelligence behind their work. The Uncanny Valley usually relates to robotics and 3D animations of people where the closer an android or animation resembles a human, but without cleary being 100% human – the greater the level of aversion elicited by viewers.

Rather than trying to achieve 100% human likeness, which given the accuracy of human sensory perception is incredibly difficult. Bespoke turned towards art, fashion, body adornment and thereby celebrating form.

Uncannyvalley.svg

The Uncanny Valley – Wikipedia

“Each of our bodies is unique, as are our tastes and styles. Humans are anything but one-size-fits-all, and we want to recognize that fact. We achieve this by creating products that allow our clients to personalize their prosthetic legs. Our hope is to enable our clients to emotionally connect with their prosthetic limbs, and wear them confidently as a form of personal expression.” say Bespoke on their website.

Via CNET via Bespoke Innovations


David is an industrial designer from New Zealand. He contributes a weekly article on personal fabrication for Ponoko. You can follow him on Twitter @dizymac

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2 Responses to “Challenging the Uncanny by 3D printing prosthetics”

  1. Scott Summit Says:

    Thanks for the great article, David. We’re huge fans of Ponoko, and I’ve been excited to watch it grow over the years. We’re working on some parts now that we plan to create using Ponoko’s tool – we’ll send you images once they take shape.

  2. David McGahan Says:

    Thanks Scott, I look forward to seeing your work!