The product designer Simonas Milišauskas works mainly in the field of innovative technological products. After graduating from Kaunas Gymnasium of Fine Arts, Simonas enrolled in the Vilnius Academy of Arts’ Bachelor of Design programme. In 2019, with his final thesis, he won the main and audience awards in the product design category in the Young Designer Prize competition. In the same year, he won first prize in the concept category of the competition Good Design. He is currently involved in the InoAcademy project, commercialising a system for the prosthetic fingers of full or partial amputees.
Interest after a personal injury
The designer became interested in prosthetic technology after a personal injury when he lost two fingers in an accident. After looking at the prostheses on the market and not finding an affordable prosthesis that suited him, he decided to design his own version.
During the product development process, he discovered the potential to develop this type of prosthesis for other people as well. According to him, “prostheses that mimic reality tend to look unnatural and make the wearer feel uncomfortable”, so the aim of the prostheses he is developing is to present the product as an accessory, an aesthetic piece of personal style that is noticeable, not something to be hidden.
An international chain of prosthesis production
Simonas’ prosthesis solves the problems caused by amputated fingers. The designer’s main goal is to restore partial hand function at a relatively low cost that is affordable for everyone. Most prostheses on the market are unaesthetic and expensive, and the majority of people who need them cannot afford or reach them.
The prostheses designed by the designer try to use a limited number of parts, reducing the cost of the product and maintaining the quality. The quality/price ratio is demonstrated by the flexibility of the plastic material, which makes it possible to create bending points without the use of additional structures. This makes the prostheses suitable for most finger amputees. To make them available to as many people as possible, Simonas plans to build an international prosthesis production chain.
An entrepreneurial programme to commercialise the product
According to Simon: “In order to commercialise a design product, you need to be able to find a way to take your design and make it accessible to more people. This requires working with funders, suppliers and partners, convincing them and adapting to change. The product being developed usually cannot exist in a bubble and depends on many external factors to which the researcher must adapt.” Participation in the InoAcademy project run by the Vilnius Academy of Arts has helped to obtain the necessary expert advice on these topics. The exhibitions organised allowed for meetings with potential partners and suppliers for further product development to happen.