Innovation At The Edges – How To Hack A Prosthetic

Last week we had the pleasure of sitting down with Senser Jude Pullen at a top secret Sense Supper Club in London. Between discussing the future of play, his latest book obsessions (it’s Emily Pankhurst’s autobiography and Bad Blood by the way) and sipping delicious Portuguese wine, we found ourselves deep into the topic of prosthetic design and a side project he’d been working with amputee Nigel Ackland. More specifically we chatted about our shared worldview that, sometimes, the design process needs an edge. Lots of edges in fact.

We’ve spoken before about The Edge Effect and how the fundamentals of this biological theory can be applied to business growth. Since writing that we’ve come across more and more individuals with The Sense Network, driven by more than just their days jobs, moving to these edges to create and innovate.

Jude Pullen Hacking Prosthetics

Our conversation with Jude gave us great insight into this theory in practise. We heard first hand as he shared his personal journey collaborating with Nigel Ackland, an amputee and bebionic prosthetics user (watch his TEDx here), to explore how to help his prosthetic hand have a DIY solution to repairing worn-out fingertips.

Jude said of the project:

“For me the project is really exciting as it’s not only about how we need to consider designing for inclusivity, but it also pushes designers and innovators to go beyond the mainstream and look in less obvious places to innovate. By looking at extreme use cases, you can often appreciate how to make a better experience for all.”

What initially started out a brief exploration into the world of prosthetic design, soon became a fully immersed passion project for Jude as he began to research new and creative ways to augment Nigel’s prosthetic. From heat reactive fingertips that help warn for high temperatures, to glow in the dark material that allows users to tie their shoelaces in the dark, you can watch Jude discuss his inventions with Nigel in the video below.

Watch Nigel and Jude discuss the hacks below.

 

What Jude demonstrates here is something the team here at HQ practise daily in collaboration with Sensers worldwide; whether that be over dinner, paid projects or peer-to-peer collaborations. Because, when it comes down to it, the future is already here. To find it you must look outside of the mainstream and explore the edges of disciplines, mindsets, cultures. The Sense Network is a unique community where the future lives.

“Projects like this are so important for me – to challenge my perceptions of emergent technologies and experiences. I not only see startups, but also corporates bringing outside stimulus inside and combining it with the best of their in house talent.

Although you need to be aligned with KPIs and process, I often need to play with an idea to understand it and see the full potential. The tricky part is not finding cool stuff, but finding meaning and opportunities to grow.

I’m always reminded of seeing my toddler play – his exploration and curiosity. With kids we’d never say they can’t touch a new toy unless they know what they want to do, yet as adults we are probably no different – our best ideas come from our hands and minds working in unison. Even for digital tech, a tacit awareness is vital.

Much of the pleasure in my work is in experiencing something unfamiliar or seeing a new twist on a classic or overlooked thing. I love the sayings ‘a smile in the mind’ [Beryl McAlhone] and ‘purposeful aimlessness’ [Thomas Heatherwick] that both reflect this .” – Jude

If you’re interested in how Jude designed his creations, you can read all about his process in detail on Instructable. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

You can also follow Jude on Twitter here.


Are you currently exploring what it means to be more than just your job title?
Are you looking for like-minded people to connect and collaborate with at the edges?
Well, The Sense Network is a home for people like you. People with creative intelligence.

Seeing creative intelligence at play in the real world, and fostering and sharing it within The Sense Network, is what we live for here at HQ. We look forward to sharing more inspiring stories of creative intelligence throughout 2019.

As always, if you’d like to get in touch with us about a project you’re working on or planning, just drop us an email…


Also published on Medium.