Disability Swag

Stumbled upon this the other day: custom prostheses. Scott Summit, founder of Besoke Innovations, creates artificial extremities that are both functional and aesthetic. His goal is to provide the disabled not just with state of the art equipment, but unorthodox designs that allow individuals the opportunity to personalize their prosthetic legs and express their own style. I find this innovation empowering. More “natural” looking prostheses  are almost an attempt to “hide” a condition, or help a person blend in with society. Summit’s company’s however, is equipping his clients with the means to confidently display their disabilities as a form of artistic expression and individuality.

Check out the website for a gallery of designs or more info about the company:

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5 thoughts on “Disability Swag

  1. I think this is super cool. It reminds me a lot of the bright colored Quickie wheelchairs Hamilton made. Like Hamilton said, “If you can’t stand up, stand out.” These custom prosthetics are transforming universal symbols of sickness into symbols of disability self pride. The only hesitancy I have with them is the price. It says on the Bespoke Innovations website that “fairings express confidence, creativity, and individuality. An uncomfortable glance is now an admiring gaze.” However, the fairings start at a price of $4000. So where does this leave lower level income amputees who cannot afford a personalized prosthetic limb? Only the rich amputees can bring back their self esteem? If this company were to start spreading, there is potential for another wall to go up — 
creating a division between not just the disabled and non disabled, but the different income levels of amputees. Bespoke innovations seems to suggest that the more money one has, the more of an “individual” one can become. It’s as if they are saying: “The uncomfortable glances won’t disappear. But don’t worry. If you hand over your money, we’ll shuffle them onto the amputees that are poorer than you.”

  2. I completely agree with you, I think custom prostheses are completely empowering for individuals who need prostheses. I think for people with physical disabilities, it’s hard to express individuality and creativity because of the pressure to be part of the ‘norm’ within society. I think customizing prostheses to express artistic expression is an amazing way to embrace disability. Afterall, having a disability is nothing to be shameful about. It’s part of normal life and it’s better to express disability in creative and artistic form than hide it! This post reminds of me of Keenan Cahill, the youtube star. Keenan has Maroteaux–Lamy syndrome, which result in individuals developing an appearance like that of people suffering from dwarfism. Rather than hiding his disability from the world, he embraced it and began making videos on youtube, lip-synching all his favorite artists and their songs. Eventually, he received a lot of attention and ended up becoming pretty famous. If you want to check out some of his videos, I’ll post the link to his youtube page below.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/BeenerKeeKee19952?feature=watch

  3. As an engineering major, it is really awesome to see an engineer with such an inspiring idea to turn a dry, impersonal titanium leg into a fashionable walking art. I think Summit is definitely promoting a positive image of the disabled society by making something that is unappealing into a mean of aesthetic expression. I cannot stop thinking about how brilliant his idea is. As he said in the interview in the article, what he is doing is really life-changing. People regains confidence after getting their new legs that express their interests and lives. I am also pleased because Summit transformed a medical equipment into an article of clothing almost for the ones who use prostheses. One of the moving stories about his customers included a woman who could finally wear a skirt in six years. This article also inspires me to do something similar that is more creative and make things that are both functional and beautiful later in my future.

    • Nice. I’m rejoiced to know I found some material for the blog that others are inspired by. Hope you will create something that is just as innovative and cool!

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