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February 2024

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The Alternative Limb Project

An amputee is often defined by what’s missing. But prosthetic limb maker Sophie de Oliveira Barata sees things differently.

Known for being a master maker of realistic body parts — legs, arms, feet, hands, fingers, and toes, Sophie’s artistic side drove her to explore an abstract and surreal version of her profession.

Her company, The Alternative Limb Project, offers amputees an opportunity to express themselves with sculptural limbs that are as unique as they are.

Working closely with her clients, she has designed prosthetic limbs that are true works of art as well as functioning body parts.

Each piece, like art, is also titled… such as “Synchronised” – an arm designed as a piece of jewelry whose internal electronics read the wearer’s pulse and through the wrist, ticks in time to her heartbeat.
“Phantom Limb” is a bionic arm complete with a USB port, a small drone, FPV goggles, LED lights, a flashlight, and a laser.

Sophie has also created a leg covered in Swarovski crystals, an arm with snakes crawling out of it, and a 26-vertebrae living vine arm whose movement is controlled by sensors under the wearer’s toes.

The mission of The Alternative Limb Project is to empower her clients, promote positive conversations around disability, and inspire a wider audience to celebrate our differences.

This story was brought to you by Arroyo Seco Live. Building community through creativity. SecoLive.org
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