An Amphibious Beach Blade for Amputees

Student-designed prosthetic leg aims to make beach activities accessible / Julia Johnson, Thomas Essl, Yuki Machida & Damian Rocca

In the aboriginal Wagiman language of Australia’s Northern Territory, murr-ma means “to walk along in the water looking for something with your feet."

It’s a fitting name, then, for an elegant new prosthetic leg design that aims to make beach activities accessible to amputees.

Designed by four students from London and Sydney, the Murr-ma looks like an amphibious version of the carbon fiber running “blade” that Paralympic athletes have made famous. With a shape the product website says is “inspired by the dorsal fin of the sale fish, the fastest fish in the world,” this below-the-knee prosthetic has a carbon fiber spine and split-toe design to enable the wearer to balance on sand and uneven surfaces, and a set of flexible, tapered fins to propel the wearer through the water.

Explains co-designer Thomas Essl in a promotional video, “It’s fair to say that Murr-ma brings us a huge step forward towards our vision in which really everybody can engage into an active beach lifestyle.”

Still in the development phase, the product, says co-designer Damian Rocca in the same video, was inspired by Australia’s tight-knit surfing communities and the observation that “the beach environment is very exclusive and not accessible to all members of society.”

The Murr-ma came out of a challenge to design Paralympic sporting equipment sponsored by mining company Rio Tinto, the Royal College of Art, Imperial College of London and the University of Technology, Sydney.

Check out the video below:

Via Yanko Design.

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