Tag: Aimee Mullins

Prosthetic Limbs: Not Just Peg Legs and Hooks Any More

By Eric Wolff | December 20, 2010 4:00 am

tentacleOK, so—whoa. Anyone wielding designer Kaylene Kau‘s prosthetic tentacle would certainly become the instant favorite of any Elder Gods she met. But aside from it’s ability to preserve her from being eaten by Cthulu, Kau’s prosthetic tentacle abandons a way of thinking about prosthetics — that they have to replicate the lost limb as exactly as possible —- for something simple, usable, and elegant.

Instead of a massively complicated set of servos, gears, and microchips the user manipulates the tentacle through two switches: One tightens a cord, causing the tentacle to curl and grip an object, the other lets it go.  It’s primarily designed as an aid in conjunction with a biological arm, but it can grip large and small objects effectively.

The arm can join a suite of prosthetic limbs that are changing the way medicine and the rest of us think about replacing a lost limb. Last year, New Zealander Nadya Vessey, who’s missing both legs, asked special effects company Weta (all three Lord of the Rings movies) to make her a mermaid prosthetic she could use for swimming. They needed eight staff members and two and half years, but they did it, and now Vessey swims in the ocean with her fin.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Biology, Biotech
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