This beautiful botanical prosthetic arm was designed by Sophie de Oliveira Barata for model Kelly Knox.
The Alternative Limb project, with design by Sophie de Oliveira Barata, mechanical engineering by Dani Clode, 3-D modelling by Jason Taylor and electronic engineering by Hugo Elias
Model Kelly Knox
Technology by Design, Level 3, National Museum of Scotland
Did you know?
The Alternative Limb project have designed three prosthetic arms for Kelly – you can find out more here.
The Alternative Limb Project was founded by Sophie de Oliveira Barata to create prosthetic limbs which are highly stylised art pieces. Sophie seeks to create prosthetics which embody the wearer’s personality and represent their interests. She originally began making hyper-realistic prosthetics, until an eight-year-old client became the inspiration for the Alternative Limb Project. Her client wanted images of her favourite cartoon characters on her prosthetic and Sophie happily obliged. Since then she has created prosthetics inspired by everything from disco balls to video games.
This particular limb was created for the model and body confidence advocate Kelly Knox. Born without her lower left arm, Kelly chooses not to use prosthetics as an aid, but as an accessory to express her personality and explore aspects of her identity.
To create this bespoke piece, Sophie asked Kelly to create a moodboard to get an idea of some of the things which inspired her.
Kelly hoped the piece would help to reinterpret the idea of prosthetics and disability.
“I want to change the way society perceives disability – showing disability can be cool, fashionable, beautiful and powerful… it’s like my body is a canvas and when wearing an Alternative Limb, I become art.
Using the moodboard as inspiration, the arm was designed by Sophie de Oliveira Barata, with mechanical engineering by Dani Clode, 3-D modelling by Jason Taylor and electronic engineering by Hugo Elias.
The completed piece, The Vine, is a botanical tentacle which contains 26 individual vertebrae that allow movement in the arm to be fluid and curve around objects.
The Vine is controlled by round sensors in Kelly’s shoes, which sit under her big toes. These sensors allow the Vine to move side to side and to curve. By pressing on the sensors with different pressure, Kelly can control the speed and direction of the Vine’s movement.
You can see the Vine arm in action here.
“Wearing these pieces helps redefine beauty and changes the image society sees when they think of disability.- Kelly Knox
The Vine Arm is on display in the Technology by Design gallery.