Akro is an upper limb prosthesis design for comfort and convenience. Through these focusses, Akro enables users by making their experience easier and more pleasant. The initial goal for this project was to augment the artificial limb for prosthesis users, to help disperse the stigma that people with missing limbs are less capable, and to instil everyday confidence in the user.
In my studio space, my peers held an ideation session, in which we brainstormed different ways to visualize solutions to a problem space. In this space, we discussed changing the form of a prosthesis, to open new avenues of movement, and to disrupt preconceptions of artificial limbs.
After some ideation and consideration, I decided to stick with the appearance of a normal arm; however I maintained that deviations from that form was a good avenue to keep open, if I did find that it would benefit the user in the end.
I made 3 prototypes using blue foam, based on the ideas of extending the user's reach, and integrating the user's personal smartphone. The latter idea branched into two different concepts: an interactive notification runner along the arm, and a socket for the user's phone to sit in.
I reached out to a prosthesis user, and received feedback based on his experience. From this, I found that one of the most important things to consider was comfort, as discomfort could lead to the user simply not wanting to use the limb. Other considerations such as integrating the limb into the user’s daily life through technology, and making the user experience more streamlined also became important aspects of my project.
To address the issue of comfort, I looked at various materials commonly used in prosthetics, and decided on materials like polyurethane and silicone for a reduced weight and increased comfort in the limb socket.
To address the integration of the limb into the user’s daily life, I added a built-in smart watch to the final form, which would cause more interaction with the limb beyond the typical arm activities; it would let the user know when their battery was running low, and offer the user basic health monitoring options.