3D Printers Making Prosthetic Legs A Fashion Statement

By Nick Venable | Updated

legProsthetics have come a long way over the years. It seems likely that any parts of the body other than the brain will one day have manufactured equivalents. (And maybe then the ladies will remember me.)

We all know that form follows function, so now that modern prosthetics are able to allow their users to live mostly normal lives, it’s time to customize their looks and make people jealous that they don’t have one. Bespoke Innovations are creating fairings, which are specialized covers designed to fit around existing prosthetic legs, and they’ve started using 3D printers to allow for really distinct customization. The company is run by former gadget designer Scott Summit, who says that a bicycle’s fairings “give it kind of the sex appeal and the sense of contour and flow.” So why shouldn’t the same be done for a person’s artificial gams?

For a few examples, Matt Sullivan, a war vet who lost part of his leg, turned his leg into a sports promo, getting the San Diego Chargers lightning bolt symbol on one side and the San Diego Padres’ “SD” logo on the other side. Brooke Artesi, who is on the Board of Directors of the Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation (among other accomplishments), got a chrome-and-black swirl pattern reminiscent of a Terminator’s look. “You’re not going to walk down the street in a Bespoke cover and someone go — oh, that looks just like your real leg,” she said. “No. It looks like a piece of artwork walking down the street.”


Bespoke has a number of presets to choose from, or you can just go ahead and design your own. Easy. Robocop’s leg, with a real 3D-printed handgun on the inside. Or even getting it to look like a tree would be pretty awesome. Rarely in life do I want to lose a limb, and this isn’t one of those times. But if I did, I would get Bespoke to make one that just looked like a nasty scar. Assuming I had the $4,000 to $6,000 they cost. Maybe things aren’t so bad with both legs.