Scott Summit: Products With a Purpose [Entire Talk] | Summary and Q&A

October 27, 2011
Stanford eCorner
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Scott Summit: Products With a Purpose [Entire Talk]

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In this video, Scott Summit, an industrial designer, talks about his passion for creating meaningful and beautiful prosthetic limbs. He discusses the challenges faced by amputees and the stigma associated with prosthetics. He explains how his team is using cutting-edge technology, such as 3D scanning and printing, to create customized and sculptural prosthetic legs that are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing.

Questions & Answers

Q: What inspired Scott Summit to work in the field of prosthetics?

Scott was inspired by the $6 million man TV show from the 70s and the idea that with funding and creativity, people with prosthetics can do amazing things.

Q: How does society's perception of prosthetics differ from other corrective devices?

Society's perception of prosthetics is often negative and uncomfortable, unlike corrective eyewear, which is accepted and even considered fashionable.

Q: What is the problem with current prosthetic limbs?

Current prosthetic limbs are often mass-produced, impersonal, and mechanical in nature, which is in contrast to the uniqueness and expressiveness of the human body.

Q: How does Scott Summit aim to change the perception of prosthetic limbs?

Scott aims to create prosthetic limbs that are personalized, customized, and beautiful, representing the individual's personality and physicality. He believes that by changing the design and aesthetics of prosthetics, the stigma and perception around them can be altered.

Q: What challenges do prosthetic limbs face in terms of design?

One challenge is the mechanical nature of prosthetic limbs, which makes them inherently mass-produced and impersonal. Scott aims to change this by utilizing 3D scanning and printing technology to create individualized and sculptural prosthetic limbs.

Q: What is the advantage of 3D printing for prosthetic limbs?

3D printing allows for the creation of personalized and complex prosthetic limbs at no extra cost. It offers design flexibility and the ability to create unique features that traditional manufacturing methods cannot achieve.

Q: How does Scott Summit's team scan and create the prosthetic limbs?

They use a 3D scanner with two cameras and a projector to capture the shape and morphology of the person's sound-side limb. The data is then processed and a custom leg is 3D printed using materials such as leather and chrome.

Q: How does Scott Summit ensure the prosthetic limb is comfortable and aesthetically pleasing?

The prosthetic limb is customized to match the person's existing morphology and is designed to be as fluid, essential, and sculptural as possible. The use of materials and patterns that resonate with the individual's personality adds to the aesthetic appeal.

Q: How does Scott Summit's prosthetic limb design help in changing people's perception of amputees?

By creating prosthetic limbs that are beautiful, unique, and representative of the person's individuality, Scott aims to change the dialogue and perception around amputees. When people see the prosthetic limbs, they are more likely to engage and ask questions instead of feeling uncomfortable.

Q: How does wearing the customized prosthetic limb impact the person's sense of self?

Wearing the prosthetic limb designed specifically for them allows the person to feel more connected to their body and regain their sense of physicality. It can also boost their confidence and change the way they feel about themselves and their condition.


Scott Summit and his team are using cutting-edge technology, such as 3D scanning and printing, to create customized and beautiful prosthetic limbs. By designing prosthetics that are unique, sculptural, and reflective of the individual's personality, they aim to change the perception and stigma surrounding amputees. The customization and aesthetics of the prosthetic limbs can also impact how the person feels about themselves and improve their quality of life. The possibilities of 3D printing in the field of prosthetics are vast and offer opportunities for further innovation and advancement.

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