Left Side Industries - Action Sports Prosthetic Knee
This product is an entry level prosthetic for above the knee (AK) amputees with a focus on outdoor activity and action sports. The knee is designed to get people out there participating in the activities they enjoyed before their amputation. The simple bio mimicry of the product helps with natural knee bends associated with athletic activity such as skiing, snowboarding, cycling, swimming, surfing, and hiking.
Left Side's Story
Thousands of people around the world live with at least one lower amputation for one reason or another. Whether it was war, disease, or some other life-altering event, a lot of these people had an active lifestyle before their amputation that they can no longer maintain.
Brian Bartlett is the creator of the original Left Side knee. He is a record setting competitive downhill skier who lost his leg after being struck by a car. Brian was told by prosthetic companies that he would no longer be able to ski and bike the way he did before. He refused to accept that, and started his journey to create a prosthetic knee for action sports.
Brian contacted Pillar Product Design after his first prototype because of Pillar's extensive experience in the outdoor industry. The Pillar team worked closely with Brian to design and build 3 versions of his knee, with Brian testing on the slopes, on the trail, and in the water along the way. Brian's experience, insight to the industry, and ability to perform real-world testing of the prototypes were essential to the solution.
Now Brian and his amputee friends from around the world are enjoying action sports again. Brian is continuing to connect with fellow amputees including former Service Members to help get the word out that living an active lifestyle is still very possible and affordable. Pillar is proud to be part of getting them back on the slopes, trails, and in the water.
Pillar's Design Goals for the Left Side Knee
Make it shorter. We reduced the overall height so that people of all sizes from small women to tall men could use this product.
Make it cost less. Pillar reduced the product cost by using standard hardware and off the shelf parts as much as possible. For example, the shock is widely available in bicycle stores.
Make it feel more natural. Urethane bumpers at the knee mimic the joint, while changing the shock design used it more effectively. When the user has the rubber "tendons" on the knee, they feel a natural movement like a human knee.
Last but not least, make it look great. Pillar added side caps and a sculpted front cover to smooth things out. The result is a sleek knee packed with technology behind the scenes.
A fantastic product and an example of where design can be used to improve someone’s life.
Well designed from a mechanical point of view and with good attention to material choice and cost.