Seattle Foot prosthetic device introduced in 1985.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • Essay 2104

In 1985, the Seattle Foot, a prosthetic device for lower limb amputees, is introduced by Prosthetics Research Study Lab. The revolutionary device can be used while performing extremely vigorous activities such as skiing, rock climbing, running, or heavy weight lifting, all of which were impossible with traditional artificial limbs. The design incorporates an innovative spring called a "monolithic keel" made of Delrin which stores energy when the foot steps down and then releases the energy at the ball of the foot.

In 1988, the DuPont company produced a television ad showing Bill Demby, who had lost both legs below the knee in Vietnam, playing basketball with two Seattle Feet.

The non-profit Prosthetics Research Study Lab drew support from the Veterans Administration (Department of Veterans Affairs) and the University of Washington Department of Kinesiology. The Seattle Foot received a Presidential Design Achievement Award in 1984 and the Governor's Award for New Products in 1990. By 1991, more than 70,000 Seattle feet were in use in the United States. An outreach clinic in Hanoi, Vietnam, produced more than 100 a month for war victims there.


Adam Woog, Sexless Oysters and Self-Tipping Hats: 100 Years of Inventions in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 1991), 117-120.

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