Beyond the Bespoke – Can the Hands of X model of co-design for prosthetic limbs be applied within the context of the NHS?

Hands of X 2017


The Hands of X project produced a collection of prosthetic hands featuring a palette of everyday materials and piloted a new service model which offered patients an experience that facilitated engagement and co-design of their limb.  The Hands of X service, and the Spring/ Summer 2018 collection, was piloted at Cubitt’s eyewear store London in 2017, and each wearer browsed swatches and created a simplified jigsaw hand to specify a material combination for hybrid digital-manual fabrication.  The project offered healthcare in a social context and presented wearers with choice in a bespoke fashion environment rather than a clinical transaction in a medical setting.  The project received critical acclaim and featured in the 2018 exhibition Access+Ability at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, New York and Project Lead Graham Pullin is one of the new V&A Dundee’s Design Champions.


This LDoc Post-Doctoral Fellowship is hosted by Kingston School of Art and will work closely with the Hands of X project team at Duncan Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee. (Dr Andrew Cook, Designer and Dr Graham Pullin, University of Dundee’s Reader in Disability-led Design and author of Design Meets Disability 2009 MIT Press.) It will evaluate the lessons learned from this pilot project and situate this within the context of the processes and regulations linked to the design, production, supply and fitting of prosthetics within the National Health Service.


This research project will investigate future directions for this innovation and establish networks to enable exploration of the practicalities of introducing a service that enables wearers to co-design their prosthesis. It will produce a feasibility study and assess the considerations and challenges that need to be overcome for introducing this design-led innovation in the healthcare system. It will contribute to the forthcoming Prosthetics Service review by the NHS Rehabilitation & Disability CRG (Clinical Reference Group).