Artistic visions for prosthetic design I - review

While most prosthetic replacements focus on function and camouflage of the visible disability or stump, others try to be as bionic as possible, some prosthetic design drafts are interesting and cool because they do neither - they fit in or they stand out. Like my Red Hand Experiment (below).

Check out some of the options or check with Dan Horkey to get your own artwork.


This concept study looks great. It apparently has been designed as "proaesthetic" according to design ideas used in eyewear, but so far no word regarding any functionality. I absolutely love the built-in digital watch as wearing a watch is a real problem.

Copyright (C) Hans Alexander Huseklepp

Design of a temporary prosthetic limb to support humanitarian assistance for victims of landmines and worldwide explosive remaining of war

"The benevolent effort of industrial designer Tillmann Beuscher looks to offer a cheap artificial limb for landmine victims around the world. The prosthesis focuses on keeping people mobile. It is simple to use and easy to adapt into the lifestyle of the users independently."

I really don't know whether this design holds up to full requirements but I do like the one-sheet cutout idea to get a fast product to try out some spray paint, gloss or other type of finish. And maybe it is a way to build sockets fast and easily. Conversely, doing an alginate and cast model of the stump is not nearly as hard as one would imagine. And then, shrinking some PET bottles over the cast really has the capacity to result in a perfect fit. And looking at this model, we now know what designers think how we should look like, style wise.

(C) Copyright Tillmann Beuscher

Design-Report Germany, 11/2004

Der Verlust eines Körperteils hat neben der physischen immer auch eine enorme psychische Belastung für den Betroffenen zur Folge. In den meisten Fällen wird versucht, beispielsweise Gliedmaßen durch Prothesen zu ersetzen, die den menschlichen Körper nachzuahmen versuchen und so die Behinderung kaschieren sollen. Nur wenige Amputierte haben das Selbstbewusstsein, ihre Beeinträchtigung offen zur Schau zu tragen. Marek Gut, frisch diplomierter Industriedesigner, widmete sich explizit dem Thema Armprothese und fand dabei Unterstützung bei den Ersatzgliedspezialisten der Firma Otto Bock. Für seinen Entwurf definierte er die Prothese nüchtern als Werkzeug. So ist sein Hilfsmittel auch nur technisch eine Übersetzung des menschlichen Arms. Formal entwickelt es eine eigene Sprache, wenn auch mit organischer Anmutung. Durch individuelle Farbgebung oder Applikationen kann der Kunde auf Wunsch die Oberfläche des Produktes mitgestalten. Welch eine erfreuliche Thematik für einen Industriedesigner, gähnt in der Sparte doch immer noch eine ziemliche Leere zwischen den extremen Varianten von kosmetischen Prothesen auf der einen und rein technisch-funktionalen auf der anderen Seite. -- Link zur Diplomarbeit an der Kunstuniversität Linz.

Eames-inspired Prosthetic Leg

Prosthetics generally lack humanity, style and grace. Often, they look much like landing gear and make the wearer uncomfortable, self aware, and sometimes depressed. By channeling the Eames' use materials and iconic style, we designed a leg with Steve McQueen in mind. We sought to convey a creative use of positive and negative space, a balance of materials and a reflection of the wearer.

This project taught me to expand my use of research materials. We interviewed several amputees in varying stages of acceptance, met with Sephora color specialists to discuss skin tones, and 3D laser scanned actual legs to translate the proportions of the human body into CAD. Through a wide range of techniques, I explored the challenge of designing something with the body in mind.

team member : Kayhan Haj-Ali-Ahmadi (a pre-med student with whom I worked to gain further knowledge about the body)

For all inquiries about this concept:
Kayhan :
Joanna :

Huefner Hand by Otto Bock

The rough and simple but warm charm of this wooden chunk never fails to please. This seems to be the Uber model for more recent design advances. Just read the enclosed catalogue description and marvel at the technical sleekness of this.

ISO-Codes - 06.18.09 Unterarm-Prothesen; Hersteller - Otto Bock; Lieferant (Marke) OTTO BOCK; Anwendbare Normen - ISO 9000 EN 29000; Allgemeine Beschreibung - Trotz aller moderner Technik und neuer Konstruktionen wollen manche Menschen nicht auf die traditionellen Prothesenhände verzichten. Andere setzen Arbeitsgeräte ein; Modell - 8A3 Hüfnerhand, einachsig, mit Zugstange und Sperrhebel für links/rechts. Daumen und Finger über Zugstange beweglich. Größen: 7 1/2 und 7 3/4. - Passives Handdrehgelenk (10D1) (1999); Technische Beschreibung - Material Holz; Handschuhgröße: 7,5; 7,75; Abmessungen - Größe 7 1/2: Mittelhandumfang: 190 mm; Handbreite: 81 mm; Handgelenkumfang: 148 mm; Größe 7 3/4: Mittelhandumfang: 200 mm; Handbreite: 84 mm; Handgelenkumfang: 157 mm.

Disclaimer: All of these suggestions are copyrighted by their authors. Content is reproduced here only for illustration and not for negotiating or enacting business or sales of these design drafts or models. Please contact the designers / companies directly.

Using hand of shop window mannequin (Schaufensterpuppe) - Red Hand Experiment

I did some art work myself being inspired by all these things people do - and here is what came out of the first test which later evolved into my Red Hand Series.

Vintage prosthesis off eBay

Not all older prostheses are necessarily bad because of their being old. As some people told me that my Otto Bock hand is slightly irritating as it looks a bit - but not quite - real, I figured that a different approach to cosmetic shape representation could be attempted. So I got a cheap 'second hand' newly made, beautifully constructed and completely unused prosthesis.

The prosthesis has a leather inlay. I cut out some of it as it was too narrow initially. I put on a cotton stump sock to protect my skin, and here we go.

Otto Bock Michelangelo hand

This is the first new or recent prosthetic hand that looks cool. There is a certain elegance to it. Even if this one stops functioning it looks great.

According to a press release, in Madrid, Spain, the first transplant of the Otto Bock ‘MichelAngelo’ Bionic Hand has been completed. Axel Eichinger, a 28-year-old born without a right hand, said that “he has gained self-esteem” from the transplant and although it took a while to adjust, he now uses his new hand with ease. It took four weeks for Eichinger to learn to use his new hand, which is a skeleton made from stainless steel and aluminum with a soft skin-like covering. The Otto Bock ‘MichelAngelo’ bionic hand will be available next year in Spain and throughout the world by spring 2010.

Copyright (C) Otto Bock.

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: - Artistic visions for prosthetic design I - review; published 16/08/2008, 22:03; URL:

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1656509349, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{ - Artistic visions for prosthetic design I - review}}, month = {August}, year = {2008}, url = {} }

5 thoughts on “Artistic visions for prosthetic design I - review

  1. i trying to find a used prosthesis below the elbow right arm..can some one help me? 17084467609

  2. I am looking for a highly functional and beautiful left hand for my son who is a 30 year old chef!

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