Youngest person ever with carbon-fiber legs

April 17, 2009

This goes in the design and society blog because it really shows how far we’ve come in our attitudes toward disability. Prosthetic legs used to be designed to conceal the fact that they were prosthetic. Never mind that their design wasn’t much good for anything except sitting down and looking “normal.”

Ellie May’s prosthetics don’t look like natural human legs at all and they don’t have to! They are her legs. We judge them based on their function, not appearance. They let her walk and play like her peers, without the hindering pretense of hiding her disability. We don’t have to do that anymore.

I’ll bet in the near future we are going to see more designs that serve useful functions without being tied to traditional forms. However, it is hard to break free of doing things the way we always have (I should know; it’s what we are trying to do with communication systems at Penn State right now.)

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