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Flex-Foot Cheetah® Xtend Running Blade

This is a Running blade. It was designed by Van Phillips and Christophe Lecomte and manufactured by Össur, Newport Adhesives & Composites and Mitsubishi Rayon and engineered by Hilary Pouchak. It is dated Designed before 2000, manufactured 2013 and we acquired it in 2015. Its medium is molded plain-woven carbon fiber, unidirectional carbon-fiber epoxy resin. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

The Flex-Foot Cheetah is a J-shaped, custom-built, high-performance prosthetic human foot designed primarily for sports activities. Van Phillips, later a medical engineer and the inventor of the prosthetic, lost his leg below the knee at the age of 21 and was dissatisfied with the prosthetics available to him. He began to investigate lightweight, flexible, and strong carbon-fiber composites, traditionally used in the aerospace industry, as the primary material. The form of the prosthetic was inspired by the rear leg of a cheetah, the fastest animal on earth. Woven carbon fiber is molded into a shape that acts as a springboard. Unlike traditional prosthetics, the inclined midsection directs the ground contact toward the front two inches of the “toe.” A C-shaped segment stores energy, compressing and springing back, propelling the runner forward.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Survive: A High-Performance Prosthetic.

This object was donated by Össur. It is credited Gift of Össur North America.

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 51 x 7 x 31.7 cm (20 1/16 x 2 3/4 x 12 1/2 in.)

It has the following markings

On foot at "ankle": Company logo (partial Ö in a yellow square) above the name Össur.

Cite this object as

Flex-Foot Cheetah® Xtend Running Blade; Designed by Van Phillips (American, b. 1954), Christophe Lecomte (French, b. 1979); Engineered by Hilary Pouchak; Manufactured by Össur, Newport Adhesives & Composites, Mitsubishi Rayon; USA; molded plain-woven carbon fiber, unidirectional carbon-fiber epoxy resin; H x W x D: 51 x 7 x 31.7 cm (20 1/16 x 2 3/4 x 12 1/2 in.); Gift of Össur North America; 2015-49-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Flex-Foot Cheetah® Xtend Running Blade |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=29 May 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>