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Superflipper Puts Amputees in the Competitive Swim


Image courtesy Richard Stark

Fit and athletic amputees – like sprinter/long-jumper Aimee Mullins – have proved over and over that the loss of a limb is no reason to give up sports. Earlier this year, Colombian Nelson Cardona became the first amputee to climb Mt. Everest, Earth’s highest peak. Amputee swimmers, however, have been held back. While other athletes benefit from well-designed prosthetic limbs, prostheses for swimmers have remained clunky, at best.

Enter Neptune, a colorful but functional superflipper designed for competitive amputee swimmers. The creation of Richard Stark, an industrial design student at Sweden’s Umea Institute of Design, Neptune rests in an adjustable cup-shaped holder, and the fin itself consists of a rigid center strip and two flexible flaps. The flaps can be adjusted to require different degrees of muscle power. The fin also rotates 90 degrees so it can accommodate side kicks and up-and-down crawl motions. And judging from the video, it works swimmingly.


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