View Full Version : Re: Oscar Pistorius

05-20-2008, 01:00 AM
Dear All,

Following up on the thoughts of Dr. Willems and others, the prosthetic
limbs that Oscar Pistorius puts to successful use are purpose-built.
They are wonderfully effective at running, but may not fair so well at
dancing, jumping, skipping, stair climbing, driving an automobile,
pushing a stroller, taking an autumn stroll through the falling
leaves, fishing in a stream, shoveling snow, etc. As humanists we all
marvel at Oscar's strengths, of character, and of athleticism. As
biomechanists, we may also marvel at the ability to optimize
sophisticated materials for a single-purpose. But as biomechanists, we
must acknowledge, how far away we really are from duplicating the
marvels of function of the human body. Most athletes train to excel at
a relatively finite number of events... just like Mr. Pistorius.
However, those that are able-bodied, routinely retain the ability to
accomplish activities of daily living. Perhaps the concept of defining
success in building a "replacement of an original part of the body
which is absent" is the biomechanical question.

Thanks, Kevin

Kevin A. Ball PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Hartford
Department of Physical Therapy
200 Bloomfield Ave, West Hartford, CT 06117
Rm: ISET/Dana 410B
Phone: 860-768-5806
FAX: 860-768-4558
email: keball@hartford.edu

On May 20, 2008, at 9:00 AM, Willems, J.W.M. (John) wrote:

> Dear all,
> Although I also agree this is not primary a biomechanical issue I want
> to pose the following: isn't it the fundamental question whether the
> device is a replacement of a original part of the body which is absent
> (protheses) or whether the device is applied in addition to a
> 'complete'
> human body (swimsuit, flying jumper)?
> Kind regards,
> John
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