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The New Breed of Affordable Artificial Limbs

  • Published: 2012-10-12 (Revised/Updated 2014-04-27) : Joseph Hill (
  • Synopsis: Artistic artificial limbs that allow amputees to get their mobility and shape back but also turn their bodies into a sculpture.

Main Document

Quote: "Instead of trying to blend in and be like everyone else, now I really go out of my way to show off my leg"

In 2009, Fashion designer Scott Summit was approached with a proposition. Whilst prosthetic limbs have come a long way in Orthopaedic design, the aesthetic side was still very underdeveloped. Could he find a way of making them more aesthetically pleasing whilst keeping them affordable

He believed he could and over the last couple of years he has worked together with Dr Trauner, a trained orthopaedic surgeon, to create some stunning artificial limbs that allow amputees to get their mobility and shape back but also 'turn their bodies into a sculpture'.

"I set out to create an option for an amputee that invites an individual personality and taste to play the dominant role in the design process. The goal is to transform a product from something that certain people need into something that they love."

Deborah, an amputee from a road traffic accident in 2004 recently had a prosthetic made from bespoke Innovations using Scott's designs and said "Instead of trying to blend in and be like everyone else, now I really go out of my way to show off my leg". To see pictures of Deborah unique prosthetic limb and more of Scott's Artwork visit

One interesting factor in the production of these artistic legs is the price. Customized products usually come at a higher price than the mass produced and take far longer to make. This is not the case for Bespoke Innovations as developments in the 3D printing industry has improved quality and reduced cost, whilst also cutting down the manufacturing and design process to around 3 weeks

Interestingly the production of these artistic legs comes at a tenth of the price of some of the others on the market. Customized products also usually come at a higher price than the mass produced but this is not the case as Bespoke Innovations. Developments in the 3D printing industry have improved quality whilst at the same time reduced cost. The waiting time for design and manufacturing is also low at a mere 3 weeks, so how do they do this

"I have always wondered why it is, however, that certain fields cannot infuse both design and utility and artfully marry them to a more suitable outcome."

The two began to research ways in which they could deliver a more customized experience to patients with prosthetic limbs way back in 2009 and they came across new design technology. By using 3D scanning technology they can scan the amputees remaining leg. This 3D scan is then used in a program called Geomagic Studio to be transferred into usable 3D data. The scans purpose is to give a higher level of symmetry when producing the bespoke design for the leg and the prosthetic itself.

"It's unfortunate that people have had a product that's such a major part of their lives that was so under designed"

Once the design has been completed 3D CAD software is used to quickly create stunning and surprising fairings. The fairing is the sculpture like covering of the leg. Each fairing is deliberately modular and designed to fit over the working mechanical parts of the prosthetic limb without interference.

Materials that can be used to create the fairing include Nylon, leather, metal and many more. A range of personalized patterns can also be used. Each fairing is unique based on the individual patient needs.

"Some want practical fairings for daily use made out of heard-wearing nylon. Some want an old tattoo matched onto a leather "skin". Metal fairings that match a favorite motorcycle have a high level of attraction. We can handle just about every request."

Joseph Hill writes on behalf of documenting research into artificial limbs.

Similar Topics

1 : Amputees Can Learn to Control Robotic Arm with Mind Power : University of Chicago Medical Center.
2 : Working with Smart Materials to Make Prosthetic Limbs More Lifelike : University of Houston.
3 : Stroke Patient Walking Ability Improved with Implanted Neuroprosthesis : Wolters Kluwer Health.
4 : Prominence Prosthetics for High Heels : Johns Hopkins University.
5 : Improving Prosthetics and Lives of Amputees : Orthopaedic Research Society.
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