Man with prosthetic leg jumps in Patagonia.

In the last decade, innovations in 3D printing, advanced bionics and other technologies have led to marked improvements in the form and function of prosthetics. These days, it’s not uncommon to see amputees rock climbing, dancing and showing off custom-designed limbs. We explore the changing field of prosthetics.

The honeycomb grid is designed to be durable enough for its users to play sports, lightweight and easy to clean. Chad Crittenden's prosthetic features a custom tattoo, his name and number from his soccer jersey.

Photo: 3D Systems Corporation


Deborah Bevilacqua's prosthetic is plated with a lace design made of nickle. The design was created to resemble her personality as well as to replicate the runner's calf.

Photo: 3D Systems Corporation

How Technology is Transforming Prosthetics and the Lives of Amputees 23 January,2015forum

Scott Summit, design director for 3D Systems
Emily Smith Beitiks, assistant director at the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability
Dan Berschinski, chairman of the Amputee Coalition
Ian Stevens, CEO, Touch Bionics, makers of the robotic hand called the iLimb
Michael Goldfarb, professor of mechanical engineering, Vanderbilt University

  • Frank

    Why is anyone talking about $100,000 arms? Hardly anyone who needs one could ever afford it, or even decent non-electronic prosthetics. I’m reminded of the misquote from Marie Antoinette “let them eat cake”. There’s a disconnect between the wealthy people who surely have all their limbs and posh homes in affluent suburbs to boot, but whose thinking in mired in venture capital la-la land versus the veterans and accident victims who have-no-legs and have no money.

  • Christopher Warnock

    See the cover of Make Magazine Feb/March 2015 “How I Made My $250 Robotic Arm” (pg.48) is the cover story. After an accident with a hydraulic press, Nicolas Huchet, explains how he built a 3D-Printed prosthetic hand that challenges “medical-grade” prosthetic hand for himself.

  • Scottyboy

    I lost my leg at 21, I also destroyed almost my entire right side. I was left on the streets for about 10 years (my parents died when I was 7) The leg they finally gave me after years of zero medical care was World War One technology. The one I have now I can barely walk across a room.. When I see these films I just want to cry…It is so much bullshit. I have written so many of these developers/heroes and have never got single reply.All these films serve to do is to make people think amputees can do anything because they have all this great stuff. Most of us have nothing. I remember Ted Kennedy’s kid running in races and people asking me (who played high school football and ran cross country) Why don’t you do that? Because I AM NOT A KENNEDY AND CAN”T AFFORD A $100,000 leg for one……..Spare me the ooooooh look how far we’ve come. If you are talking WE, You must have a mouse in your pocket.

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