Pop culture has always shown us the potential for artificial limbs to be really cool, and maybe even better than the original. Think of Luke Skywalker’s hand. Or Ash’s chainsaw hand in Evil Dead II. Or even the fembots in Austin Powers, who could shoot bullets from their breasts.
But real-life has been depressingly slow in catching up with our imaginations, and prosthetic limbs have never been known for being aesthetically interesting. Sure, we’ve come a long way from the classic hook hand, which now exists only in urban legends about cars breaking down late at night.
But until the world got to see Oscar Pistorius in action, we’d never really seen prostheses that were actually kind of cool (I’m talking about his athletic career, not his later work).
But there’s good news for anyone out there who’s missing a limb: the enterprising folks at the Alternative Limb Project have been releasing some truly exciting limb designs in recent years.
The Project’s founder, Sophie de Oliveira Barata, has said she wants to make prostheses that look cool enough that people would rather show them off than hide them under clothing. And the results, so far, have been amazing.
You might have seen some of de Oliveira Barata’s work at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics in London, where model Viktoria Modesta wore a prosthetic leg made from Swarovski crystal. But some of her projects are even more daring, even verging on the outlandish, including a prosthetic arm made to look as though a snake is emerging from it.
The most famous creation of the Alternative Limb Project is the so-called ‘Metal Gear Arm,’ inspired by the video game of the same name, and worn by young British amputee James Young. Check out Young’s incredibly cool arm in action in this short documentary from the BBC.
This is actually way better than Luke Skywalker’s hand:
These designs are truly badass. But not everyone can have one of these, even aside from the obvious reason that you’d need to lose a limb first. The other reason you can’t have a funky prosthetic: they’re very expensive.
The Alternative Limb Project says the average price is about AUS$8,300 (US$6,200), but it can even run up to as much as AUS$16,600 (US$12,400).
Although considering the impact it could have on the life of someone who needs a prosthetic, this seems like a good investment if you’ve got the money. But don’t expect Austin Powers style fembots any time soon.
Via Digital Trends