There is an art exhibition in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia from Nov 9th through Dec 5th. This time, not amputees determine the appearance of their limbs but (established) artists use prostheses as canvas. Interesting, as the motives are significantly different from what I would do, what Dan Horkey would do, what we saw from prosthetic limb designer professionals, or what amputees presented at the Otto Bock USA competition.
Of course, this opens up an interesting field for consideration.
For one, (established) artists would never start to treat sick teeth or operate brains. That means that in terms of feeling competent about it, (established) artists obviously seem to feel that dentists or brain surgeons are enough competent to do that type of thing on their own. Without the help of (established) artists.
Secondly and so far up to now, (established) artists felt no need to interfer with the appearance of prosthetic parts. If anything, prosthetic design was regarded as part of product design or industrial design. There are many other products - BMW cars, coffee machines - none of which see a lot of (established) artists addressing these. So in away, (established) artists seem to feel that toothbrush or car stereo designers are competent as well otherwise I am sure we would have seen water color, oil canvas or sculpture impressions for car stereo front plates.
But recently, the world did see a sudden increase in prosthetic art work. There are not too many around that do customized socket or cover work. And yet, we see (established) artists paint ... prosthetic sockets. If anything, that is cool.
And the next thing I would like to see are carpet and car seat manufacturers, plastics and automotive designers to take on prosthetic design as well. Haptics, flooring surfaces, different plastics, you know what I mean. Then all we need are socket and prosthetic hand skeleton standards on one hand, and clip-on-interface standards on the other hand, and prosthesis and appearance can be separated.
That then will allow the user to get a new prosthetic skeleton while continuing to wear down an old leather outfit, or it will allow a user to change the appearance without having to buy an expensive new arm.
That, dear readers, will be the future. And remember, you read it here first :)