A 21-year-old design student with a heart for veterans just designed an artificial limb that could help wounded warriors conquer their mountains.
Literally and metaphorically.
"Before I started this project I would go online and watch a lot of news about wounded soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and they suffered not only from mental trauma but had a lot of physical challenges, so I knew I wanted to design something for them,"Kai Xiang Lin told TheBlaze.
The industrial design student at the Pratt Institute said he was inspired to help give wounded warriors regain their lost mobility.
"During my research I noticed that thousands of wounded soldiers were coming back with missing limbs, either arms, hands or legs ... a lot of soldiers were from a very physical active background and suddenly losing that mobility is a quite a change in their lifestyle," Lin said. "I wanted to design something that would not only help them perform daily tasks such as walking or running but help them fully enjoy their lives."
The specially designed prosthetic will help amputees regain the ability to rock climb and scale steep mountain faces by providing a base to the limb that resembles the anatomy of furry, hoofed creatures.
Lin saw how easy it was for goats to scale ridiculously steep surfaces and wanted to take advantage of the physiological advantages found on the mountain goat's hoof in the final prosthetic prototype. (Image source: YouTube)
"During my research I came across a video of mountain goats climbing a near vertical dam and was amazed by their talented skills," Lin says in his presentation. He integrated features of the goats' hooves into the final prototype.
Lin envisioned a fix to give athletic amputees a way to get their activity level back up.
"Rock climbing, especially indoor rock climbing is a safe sport, and I knew designing something for rock climbing can really help them regain that activity," he said.
The third-year student hopes to continue working on research and design projects that will improve the way both wounded warriors and average consumers interact with technology.
"We have the freedom to design what really interests us and I'm specifically drawn to wearable technology, specifically products that better our lives," Lin said. "I think prosthesis of today show how advanced our technology has become, because back in medieval times they would have heavy fake metal legs and now we have sensors and advanced electronic devices that mimic walking motions of humans and those advancements are fascinating to me and I want to combine those with my design ability to create something everyone."
Check out TheBlaze exclusive interview with Kai Lin here:
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