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Virtual Reality Prosthetics Exhibition Opens
Kevin Everson, volunteer on the Virtual Reality Prosthetics project
A new interactive exhibition using virtual reality to explore the lives of amputees opened in Sheffield today (Tuesday 25 October).

The Body and Mind exhibition, at Millennium Gallery, allows visitors to try virtual reality technologies which have been developed by academics from Sheffield Hallam University to help amputees learn how to use their new prosthetic limbs.

The main exhibit allows visitors to try the new HTC Vive technology and discover how amputees learn how to use their prosthetics in a virtual kitchen, where users can pick up items such as fizzy drinks and apples, open cupboards, and even smash plates.

Visitors will also have the chance to design their own prosthetic limb, experience how amputees perform day-to-day activities, look at how prosthetics have developed over the last century, and take part in interactive exhibits that explain how the arm works and what your arm looks like inside.

There will also be a number of informative videos from people born without a limb, and from amputees about their life-altering injuries and how they are learning to use their new prosthetic limbs - including Paralympic cycling gold medallist, Jon-Allan Butterworth.

The exhibition is part of a project by the Virtual Reality Prosthetics (VRP) team at Sheffield Hallam University, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust. The project is designed to engage the public with emerging technologies and cutting-edge multi-disciplinary research linking biomedical science, psychology, physiotherapy and virtual reality.

Madelynne Arden, Professor of health psychology at Sheffield Hallam and member of the VRP team, said:

"The exhibition will provide genuine insight for the general public about the challenges that amputees face on a daily basis, whilst also providing an opportunity to try a new and fun emerging technology.

"Virtual reality is a completely immersive experience and we are keen for all members of the general public - children and adults - to come along and see the exhibition for themselves.

"The project itself is a perfect example of academic collaboration and we are very proud with the impact it is having. The team is comprised of experts from various parts of the University and we are developing genuine working solutions for real-world problems."

A number of amputees involved in the project will also be at the exhibition to talk to visitors about their own experiences - including lower arm amputee, Kevin Everson, who cut the opening ceremony ribbon using a pair of scissors held with his prosthetic arm.

The free exhibition will take place at the Millennium Gallery on 25-27 October and Weston Park Museum on 12-13 November.
Virtual Reality Prosthetics Exhibition Opens, 25th October 2016, 14:32 PM