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Off the wall prostheses

Going beyond "flesh tone"
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Medical prostheses have advanced by leaps and bounds since the Vietnam War, and those brave men and women who suffer the misfortune of coming home in a reduced capacity can expect a range of motion and capability that comes closer than ever before to mirroring what they had before.

But those arms and legs still look like arms and legs. Why stop there? The military is pretty much done with you now, so you don't have to worry about conforming the way you did before. How about a close-fitting "sock" that permits changing the arm's color today? Or better, one that you can peel off and wash easily. Or a steel one so you can stick notes to it with a magnet.

A cork-covered leg is just the thing for holding your fishing lures when you're out for a day on the lake.

I could tell you one hell of a funny story involving a friend who made racing wheelchairs for a living (yes, he was kind of poor), and a friend of his who had lost an arm in a motorcycle accident, and a prosthesis custom made for hanging wallpaper. Yes, the guy was a one-armed paperhanger, and he was the fastest paperhanger you ever saw: he never had to put his tools down, nor pick them up again, since they actually were attached to his arm. He couldn't ride his motorcycle anymore, but he was (maybe still is) the most remarkable paperhanger I've ever seen.

Okay, it's not that funny. But that is most of the story.

Maybe it's time to stop looking at prostheses as just replacement limbs, and start looking at them as an opportunity to augment the person wearing it, to take a handicap and turn it into an advantage.

elhigh, Jul 10 2007

Hugh Herr http://www.business...w&id=616&Itemid=267
No decent photos of his legs to be found, but here's the guy [neutrinos_shadow, Jul 10 2007]

carbon-fiber prosthetic legs http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/print/2189
[nuclear hobo, Jul 11 2007]

[link]






       BUN! When I was a child I used to always imagine myself having a detachable hand that will reveal a multi-purpose motor that would have various attachments like a drill, car buffer, a kitchen mixer, or even the abilty to stick my forearm directly under the pitcher from a blender and make smoothies while out in the park.   

       Even the Six Million Dollar Man had replacement limbs that were superior to what he was originally born with. So why not an amputee? Like if someone lost both of their shins and they worked at a construction site, they could be fitted with the proper tools that were more compatable with the surface of the area more so than a pair of boots. They could probably design an attachment making it very easy to walk through mud or across gravel or even magnetic attachments for standing in akward places when welding together a steel building.
Jscotty, Jul 10 2007
  

       I saw a documentary some years ago about a rock-climbing double-leg-amputee doing this - his was climbing using standard artificial legs when he realised he could build something much better for climbing. Result: small, strong, hard feet with grip all over, good, sharp edges and lightweight too. I'll try to find a link. (Later - linky)
neutrinos_shadow, Jul 10 2007
  

       Nice way of thinking - turning disadvantage into utility. [+]
nuclear hobo, Jul 11 2007
  

       [+] for //prostheses have advanced by leaps and bounds//
marklar, Jul 11 2007
  

       [Jscotty] - an interior drywaller whose legs are also his rocker's stilts: press two buttons, and *click-click* - now you're 7'4". Watch out for door sills.   

       Here's a thought: what if amputees started getting preferential hiring because they could customize themselves to the job?   

       I was about to ask if anyone would have the gall to sue for unfair hiring practices in a situation like that, but we all know someone would.
elhigh, Jul 11 2007
  

       The delivery guy for our local Kebab shop has a hook instead of a hand. It appears ideal for carrying around the various take away bags.
S-note, Jul 11 2007
  

       Is it a pirate kabab shop?
miasere, Jul 11 2007
  
      
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