Designed as an assistant to improve day to day functionality while being economically accessible, the product stands out in the unique bond that the users share with it. Through the process of observing the amputees, Teng realised that something as mundane as taking a shower can be a source of anxiety and vexation for people with disabilities. Since the regular prostheses that amputees use on a daily basis have metal components, they are futile in the shower. "Their current solutions when showering can be quite dangerous or troublesome,” points out Teng. “The biggest challenge is entering and exiting the shower. Some amputees must jump to get inside, others may crawl," he explains.
Inspired by the Charles Eames and Ray Eames Leg splint, Teng developed a series of modular components that can be configured, customised and replaced to suit the user’s body. Lytra is made from medical grade polypropylene sheets and encapsulates six elements: hand grip, fitting system including a nylon strap and a silicone pad, socket, white polypropylene pole, stainless steel pole and a foot pad.
Different heights can be achieved using the stainless steel pole while the adjustable nylon strap and silicon pad help secure the prostheses. The socket, the most essential part, comes in five different sizes to accommodate the varying shapes and sizes of amputees’ limbs. A silicone gel bottom provides soft and comfortable support to the residual limb, which is interchangeable for hygienic purposes. The handgrip and the flexible foot with slip-resistant rubber outsole can be removed and replaced when damaged. “The design must be a modular system with a large degree of adjustability to accommodate a wide range of needs,” says the designer. “Lytra smartly decouples the fitting part, providing comfort and enabling personalization, and the structural part standardised for cost-down reasons,” he adds.
Driven by curiosity and empathy, Harry Teng believes that there are underlying threads that unite technology, design, and art. When aligned and plucked with emotion, the threads exude profound resonance. This metaphorical resonance and harmony can be found in his project Lytra. Through his industrial design, with kinesiology and ergonomics at its core, he empowers people with disabilities. Still in its incubation phase, Teng is seeking a collaboration with skilled engineers to continue elevating the medical device in terms of safety and reliability without compromising the humanistic touch of the prosthesis.