Bespoke Innovations is a San-Francisco-based firm founded by industrial designer Scott Summit and orthopedic surgeon/engineer Dr. Kenneth Trauner. Bespoke is using rapid prototyping to make a product with surprisingly little competition in the marketplace: Personalized prosthetics that not only work well, but look freaking cool.
"A current prosthetic is an amazing piece of engineering and research, but it's half of the equation," says Summit, featured in the NY Times video on rapid prototyping below. "A person is about form and shape and beauty and sensuality. That won't be reached by an assemblage of off-the-shelf mechanical parts."
Stepping in to fill the void, Bespoke makes kick-ass prosthetics using RP. If a person is missing just one leg, Bespoke can scan the other, mirror it in CAD, and crank out a counterpart; further production methods can then be applied to the prosthetic, like chrome-plating and/or wrapping it in leather that's been etched with tattoo-like patterns. The end result becomes something that the user would be proud to leave visible, rather than hide underneath pant legs.
Hit the jump to read Bespoke's well-reasoned mission statement.'Bespoke', by definition, means customized to suit the individual. At one point, suits were custom tailored individually, by skilled artisans. Those days largely gave way as Mass Production ushered in a new wave of 'one size fits all', and we've been accommodating its limitations ever since. New technologies, however, allow us to rethink the dehumanizing mass-production, and return once again to a guild process, where a product can be created for on individual, unique to them alone. When we think of a car, a house, a pair of sunglasses, we expect more than the raw, base functionality than the object provides. We let it express soul, personality, and character. It expresses who we are, our taste and our individuality. But this traditionally does not translate to the world of prosthetics. Yet of all things personal, individual, and unique, this should be that one area that most showcases the wearer for who they are.
The Bespoke process is about personalization, and the fairing is as unique as a fingerprint. The result is born from the form, shape, and sense of style of the individual. Every detail, from the patterns, the graphics, the material, a tattoo - is a selection of the person who will wear it.