How can we create a global hub of research and innovation around 3D printed prosthetics at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?
Body 2.0 is a two-year project which started in 2015 when Jordan Jon Hodgson first began to do detailed studies of London’s Olympic site (Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park). During the first year he was asked by the partners of the project, The London Legacy Development Corporation (developers of the park), to come up with a ‘visually inclusive intervention on the site’. Immersing himself into the space, he took 10,000 photographs of different viewpoints from locations across the site that were most often used by visitors; these photos were then compiled to create a three dimensional digital map of the Olympic Park. Findings from this stage revealed that a large number of people with varying degrees of disability were choosing to live in East Village, the former site of the Olympic Village, now turned into a residential community, because of its proximity to some of the most advanced and innovative inclusive facilities (both in the park and at the venues on site. This was also a ‘knock on’ effect of Channel 4’s Meet the Superhumans campaign.
When Channel 4 secured their role as the official broadcasters of the Paralympics 2012, they began a campaign to change public perception and raise awareness of disability in sport. Meet the Superhumans, a 90 second advertisement film depicting disabled athletes not as victims but as inspiring, resilient and determined Paralympians, aired across 78 different UK television channels maximising exposure of the competition. On 29 August 2012, their live broadcast of the opening ceremony was watched by 11.8 million television viewers – the largest audience in a decade. It became the first Paralympics to sell out. The positive change in public perception towards disabled sports, the success of London’s Paralympic games and the ethos of Inclusive Design are all deeply embedded in the site, which is why many people with disabilities have chosen to live in the park’s East Village.
The second year of Body 2.0 focused on how people could extend their ability by looking at the possibilities presented by the emerging field of low cost open source 3D printed prosthetics. Part of the Olympic Park and surrounding areas are currently being developed into a new cultural and educational district of east London, with various institutions such as the V&A Smithsonian, Sadler’s Wells and various universities planning to open satellite sites. Jordan’s initial question of ‘how can we create open source prosthesis that people can personalise?’ has gained a lot of interest from branches of University College London, Loughborough University and London College of Fashion because there is now the possibility that through a disability hub, ideas and knowledge can be shared between institutions with different skillsets to explore and develop the future of prosthetics.
The outcome of the Centre’s Body 2.0 project will be the creation of three bespoke prosthetic limbs (two lower leg sheaths and a lower arm), developed in co-design workshops with the idea of ‘identity’ in mind. Tapping into the institutions’ specialised skills (materials, high performance, and aesthetics). Jordan has paired each university with a participant and their designs. These personalised prosthetics will be integrated into and help illustrate the origin of the Global Disability Hub at the Olympic site, showing the public the great potential of prosthetic technology to adorn and enable.