It’s always fun to test new prosthetic functionality. It is also very interesting to be together with those who make my prostheses. And it is always rewarding to meet other users who willingly share their experiences. At OT World in Leipzig I got an opportunity for all this.
It was an intense week with many impressions. I arrived in Leipzig Monday night after a long travel day which started at five in the morning at home. My travel day experience was saved at the airport i Oslo by a young boy who came and asked me if I had robot legs. Joined by his brother and mother, we ended up finding new possibilities in future prostheses. A really creative session! I have many funny interactions with children due to my legs.
I was invited by Otto Bock as a demo user to OT World. They are the manufacturer of my knees, Genium X3. These knees will come with a facelift of different software upgrades in the near future. So I was also flown to Holland in early May to get upgraded test knees. During OT World my role was to show and explain the experience of this facelift.
Even though I had about two weeks of testing the new knee joint prior to the event, I did not feel I had challenged them properly yet. But there were some subtle changes I had noticed. Especially a feeling of more smooth movements. Our experiences were written in a script for a show we should hold once a day on a course designed for the occasion including a ramp and stairs.. On the first day, I accompanied the gurus Florian Gishamer and Dries Glorieux from Otto Bock, and Kerstin wearing a Genium X3.
Already at the first show I had been so comfortable on my legs that I challenged them beyond the script. My trust in the legs and exploration of even more features resulted in more improvisation through the shows. The best improvement was perhaps the way I could walk with full control down the ramp. It was easy to fully control and adjust my speed. We improved our presentation each day with new activities to demonstrate our explanations.
The last two days I had a new partner. Marije Smits is a doctor and former paralympics athlete. I was truly inspired to try to test out running on my prostheses after I saw her do it during our show. Admittedly, my challenge may be more difficult with two metallic knees, but I will never know if I manage running unless I try.
OT World in Leipzig was an inspirational experience to me and I got to know many incredible individuals. I believe several of them will be important and inspiring contacts in the future. Hopefully you will be reading more about them here later. Now I leave you with some photos of a great week accompanied by many winners!