Bespoke Bodies Exhibition Preview was a Hit at HUBweek

October 19, 2018 | | View Comments

Design Museum Boston was at HUBweek from October 10-14th, and it was awesome! We partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield and Hanger Clinic to showcase an exhibition preview of Bespoke Bodies: The Design and Craft of Prosthetics, opening in early 2019 at the Prudential Center Mall.

The Bespoke Bodies exhibit takes an in-depth look at the history, present, and future of prosthetic innovation, and features stories behind the design of devices, relationships between clinicians and their patients, and individuals advocating around the world. The stories and artifacts focus on education and empathy.

Maggie Baumer Hanger Clinic Design Museum Boston HUBweek Blue Cross Blue Shield

Maggie Baumer Hanger Clinic Design Museum Boston HUBweek Blue Cross Blue Shield

Design Museum and Hanger Clinic staff were on hand to demonstrate some high tech experiences including myoelectric (or robotic) hands and virtual reality technology.

 

In a shipping container, we previewed the upcoming show. Visitors read case studies, watched videos, and interacted with certain prostheses. From widely used body-powered devices to the latest in technology, visitors were immersed in the experience.

Hanger Clinic Design Museum Boston HUBweek Blue Cross Blue Shield

Body Powered Arm Hanger Clinic Design Museum Boston HUBweek Blue Cross Blue Shield

An attendee uses a modified body-powered prosthesis to tie a shoe. This cable-activated hook design was developed in the early 1900s and still one of the most common and widely used upper limb devices today.

 

Hanger Clinic also introduced visitors to their MiGO Virtual Reality experience, a tool used by the national orthotics and prosthetics care provider that allows patients firsthand what it’s like to lead an independent life with the use of prosthetic devices.

MiGO Virtual Reality Hanger Clinic Design Museum Boston HUBweek Blue Cross Blue Shield

Maggie Baumer Hanger Clinic Design Museum Boston HUBweek Blue Cross Blue Shield

In addition to the exhibition preview, we activated HUBweek’s Hall of the Future with a pop-up exhibition of case studies, prosthetic devices, and accessories and hosted a panel discussion featuring four prosthetic users we connected with through Hanger Clinic: Mike Benning, Rushel Rhiney, Diane “Dee” Suthers, and Facilitator Maggie Baumer. 

Mike Benning Maggie Baumer Hanger Clinic Design Museum Boston HUBweek Blue Cross Blue Shield

Left to Right: Mike Benning, Rushel Rhiney, Maggie Baumer, and Diana “Dee” Suthers discussed their experiences with limb-difference, and the impact that design–sometimes by their own personal innovations–has made in their lives.

 

They shared their experiences, why they choose their specific devices, and what they hope to see in the future. The experiences and voices of prosthetic users are not often heard on a large public scale. Design innovations in style and function have helped prosthetic users to continue doing what they love. Mike Benning, when talking about why he picked his prosthetic said, “function is important to me, but I also needed something that would be soft so I can hold my child.” This is why Benning uses a robotic prosthetic with a specially designed silicone glove covering. Rushel Rhiney discussed the importance of style and beauty with her device. She said, “I am a woman that likes beautiful things, and I wanted something that would be feminine.” The importance of style and customization is crucial to the individual to incorporate their lifestyle and aesthetic style. The field of prosthetics went largely static during the latter half of the twentieth century. Despite recent technological, cost, and aesthetic advances, there is still a long way to go with prostheses. All of the panelists mentioned at the struggles they face, especially with clothing limitations and the accessibility of public spaces. 

Siltec Labs Hanger Clinic Design Museum Boston HUBweek Blue Cross Blue Shield

(above & below) Leigh Radziwon of Siltec Labs demonstrates her process for molding and painting restorative silicone prostheses for a school group visiting the exhibit preview.

 

Siltec Labs Hanger Clinic Design Museum Boston HUBweek Blue Cross Blue Shield


Get engaged! 

Support the exhibition! We need your help to make Bespoke Bodies a Boston story. We’re raising the last $8,000 so we can highlight local organizations and stories, including stories from Boston Marathon bombing survivors and where they are now. Give Today!

Attend our November Design Museum Mornings featuring Maggie Baumer from Hanger Clinic all about humanizing healthcare!

Sign up to get notified on the opening date of Bespoke Bodies: The Design and Craft of Prosthetics!

Banner and feature photos © Anastasia Lennon