Aimee Mullins is an actress, model and athlete, has a dozen pairs of designed artificial limbs and 'encourages designers to change the idea of "disability" and the definition of beauty by bringing their talents to both the science and the art of designing prosthetics' TED blog. See her talks at TEDhere and here.
Oscar Pistorius has been mentioned here before, another amazing athlete who uses a 'Cheetah Flex-Foot' by Ossur. Van Phillips is the inventor of the Flex-foot, 'The biggest obstacle, he said, is an amputee’s imagination. Too many do not believe they can walk with ease or run again — until they meet Phillips or someone wearing one of his designs.'
Proto 1, developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program by APL at John Hopkins University. The prototype is the first fully integrated prosthetic arm that can be controlled naturally, provide sensory feedback and allows for eight degrees of freedom—a level of control far beyond the current state of the art for prosthetic limbs. More at NYT here.
Will the future of prosthetic limbs be more like the Six Million dollar man or will it become more robotic? Hans Alexander Huseklepp seems to think so, his Immaculate concept uses globe joints allowing for greater freedom of movement which would look odd if the arm looked anatomically correct.
Another great product launch this week is the Phillips MASTER LED bulb, one of the best designs this year. Why? Because it is not a
radically new form, it resembles a regular light bulb, making user adoption less difficult.
Another new product launched this week is the new iPod shuffle, apart from the small size, the 'innovation' lies in the VoiceOver, a clever add on that tells the owner what song he/she is listening to. Is this a gimmick to sell more products, or will it be useful in the near future?
"Ultimately my job as a designer is to look at the future", Objectified. What are the stories that product designers have to tell? Gary Hustwit's film Objectified explores the creative processes of some of the world’s most
influential product designers, and looks at how the things they make
impact our lives. The film was officially launched at SWSW at the weekend.
And what better depiction of the future can we find in science fiction? An interesting article in the Guardian citing Julian Bleeker on how science fiction helps technology design, some of the examples mentioned include The Minority Report. But perhaps one of the best examples not mentioned is Bladerunner, inspiration for many designer since it was released in 1982. Essentially science fiction movies are in a sense prototypes. "science fiction objects are just like engineering or design prototypes – except, in many ways, they are even more effective", Bleeker.