Rock Climbing/Hiking Prosthesis

Hey Core77,

I’m a prejunior from UC working on a low-tech rehab project. I talked to three prosthetists and an active above knee amputee (the prosthetic is for above knee amputees) and explaining all of the features in paragraph form might get boring so I’ll list them:

The foot turns around 180 degrees, so you climb with the back of your foot and hike with it frontwards

the leg shortens up to 7.5 inches for climbing

the foot has tread outsole. no need to add the deadweight of a second shoe

the socket (the part that goes on the limb) has a foam liner which expands to compensate for volume loss throughout the day

a free swinging lockable knee (locked while climbing) makes this prosthetic one of the only extreme sport prosthetics with a swinging knee (i couldn’t find one, but that doesn’t mean i know everything that’s out there)

We currently have two/three weeks to refine and finish the design before critique. I finished my first 3d model today after much iterating. I’m also working on developing a brand to go with this product. You’ll see both of those in this post. I’d like feedback about the design overall (does it look right? I know that might be a bit difficult without it on a person) do you have any questions about its functions? I’d like to try to find any flaws and iron them out as best I can before critique! Thanks core!

Hi Dan. You chose a tough project. In reality, a project like this needs dozens of different prototypes. You need to get those prototypes on people and try them. It is the only way to know if the function to the required specifications or not. It is very tough for a student to do. But as a student, you should be able to do the one prototype and get feedback. From that feedback, you should be able to come up with more ideas/refinements. That is what I would want to see.

As for your features list, it may be beneficial to refine it. I would recommend changing it to a required and desired list. What is the minimum to make this product a success in the eyes of the user and what can enhance the product. E.g., required is a 180 degree pivot, desired is 270 degrees, or maybe the the 180 degree pivot itself is only desired and not required. This is something you should determine from user interviews.

Your logo looks nice but without having any brand objectives, I can’t say if it fulfills any criteria for success.

Thanks Iab,

I should have mentioned/posted some of the research I did. The reason the leg pivots and shortens is because I found a study ( where users climbed a rockwall with different types of prosthetics, and the best both objectively and subjectively had the foot backwrds and was shortened, but not telescoping. I tried to find as many actionable insights like that as I could and work them into the product. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could create a model to test? The componentry required to attach this thing to someones leg is wicked expensive… Would it just be more of a feedback meeting?

The other question I have is how you would go about presenting all of this during critique. We only get a 40x60 inch plot. And there has to be a money shot and all of the feature explanations etc. I’m struggling to see how I would fit in storyboards and user feedback as well as research. I was thinking of preparing a research book and brand booklet in indesign and just having those for my critique.

thanks so much for the feedback!

When making a model for evaluation, there is no reason it needs to be anything like your illustration. You just need the proof of principle, a represention of the idea of the pivot or other features, the final product is not necessary. Also, your model does not need to be as durable as the final product. You can get a tremendous amount of insight from 15 minutes of use. You need to tell the user they are evaluating the function up until the point it fails and that the “real” product will overcome any durability issues represented by the model. These strategies can lower fabrication costs and get around things like it was uncomfortable after 15 minutes of use. Tell the user, how was it the first 15 minutes assuming it can be made comfortable all day long. While I design medical products, I have never done a prosthesis and can’t provide any tips on model making for that specific area. Sorry, I don’t have that experience.

I also appreciate the link to the paper. Great information. I would also emphasize the importance of interviewing end users on what they feel is required and desired for this product. Qualitative information tends to be more valuable and offer more perspectives than quantitative information at the beginning of a project. The quantitative data is generally more suited for evaluating individual concepts.

For presentation, do a google image search on “research poster”. It is a time honored method and always precedes publication of a research paper. Yours won’t need to be as indepth as what you will see. Also, these posters are typically printed on a tabloid sized paper as a give away. Just take yours and zoom it down to the 11x17 and integrate it into your 40x60. Generally, you will want to include an abstract, method, results, discussion and conclusion. Words/pictures/graphs/sketches can be used in any section.

Random research poster:

super helpful! Thank you so much!!