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U of I student creates prosthetic cover

By Amy Wilkie
On March 1, 2019

Erica Cole, a student at the University of Iowa, has become an entrepreneur who creates covers for prosthetic legs. 

Cole was in an accident that severely injured her left leg, which resulted in amputation. 

Cole said, “I noticed that people started to treat me differently when they noticed that I had a prosthetic leg. I was getting a lot of sympathy and questions that I didn’t want to answer all the time.” 

This led Cole to the idea of founding No Limbits. No Limbits creates custom covers for those with prosthetic legs.  

“I made a prosthetic cover so I could express my own style but I also noticed that it started changing the conversations I was having from ‘what happened?’ to ‘I like your style,’” she said.  

Cole’s business NoLimbits was founded in October and is going to launch its Kickstarter next month. 

“It’s been crazy fast and there’s more interest than I ever anticipated, so it’s really exciting. Really things got going as soon as we launched the website. Preorders started coming in and it was really cool to see how many people wanted to try the product,” said Cole.  

She added that there is a lot of effort in making the covers. “We take seven measurements from a customer’s sound [actual] leg and prosthesis and our program models a cover to match their sound leg if they have one.  Bilateral amputees enter the height and other dimensions on there, and we calculate their approximate leg shapes from there.  Then, customers choose the colors and designs that they would like and we 3D print them from a flexible filament. Each print takes about 10 hours but the results are worth it,” said Cole. 

 She added, “We are currently prototyping a bunch of designs, but the plan is to launch is with six different ones and add a different one next month.”  

In the past Kirkwood Community College has had students with different types of prosthetics. However, according to Veteran’s Affairs Coordinator Ramona Taylor there are not any currently on campus.  

Taylor added, “This is a really cool thing to do, creating your own cover like this makes it seem that the prosthetics are part of your body.” 

Erica Cole educates at a seminar the benefits of her invention. Photo Contibuted.

 

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