Innovation: An Amphibious Prosthetic Leg

In 2004, U.S. Marine Corp. veteran Dan Lasko lost his left leg while serving in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he is far from the only casualty of war; roughly 6% of all injured veterans have lost a limb. This makes it critical to innovate new solutions to help veterans return to an active lifestyle.

An active lifestyle was very important to Dan Lasko; the 33-year old has two young sons and all are active swimmers. But Lasko faced a unique problem in that that amputees cannot easily swim; prosthetics legs are not designed to go between land and water in a functional way.

In a collaboration between Northwell Health, J. Walter Thompson New York, and Lasko, the team designed and developed an amphibious prosthetic leg. Using extensive design and testing, “The Fin” was developed – 3-D-printed prosthetic leg that can help one naturally walk into the water, swim, and even dive.

Innovation changes lives.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the steps of the innovation process.
  2. Students: What are the critical factors to successfully developing a new product?
  3. Show the video of The Fin’s development: https://youtu.be/m8KmWGZvkI4
  4. More information is also available at: https://www.northwell.edu/about/news/press-releases/northwell-returns-amputees-water-creating-first-3d-printed-amphibious-prosthetic-leg
  5. There are numerous other innovations that are focused on improving lives. Divide students into teams and have team search for a similar problem, and solution, to the one discussed in this case.

Source: Ad Week  

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