Effects shop fulfills amputee's mermaid dream

Fully functional prosthetic tail might be the future of swimming for double amputees.

Nadya Vessey's prosthetic tail is mostly constructed from wetsuit fabric and plastic molds, and covered in a digitally printed sock. stuff.co.nz

Good: double amputee gets prosthetic legs so she can walk. Better: double amputee gets realistic-looking mermaid tail so she can swim. Awesome: it's developed and built by Weta, the special-effects company that did work for the "Lord of the Rings" movies, as well as "King Kong" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" series.

Nadya Vessey's legs were amputated below the knee when she was a child due to illness. At one point, reports Stuff, a child asked her what happened to her legs and she told him she was a mermaid. The idea stuck with her, so she wrote to Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand, two years ago asking for a mermaid tail. To her surprise, they said they'd do it.

Now she has a fully functional mermaid tail with an attached suit, making her look practically just like a real mermaid (if, you know, mermaids were real).

She can swim well and says the prosthesis feels quite comfortable. We're not sure if anything like this could go into mass production for amputees, but we wouldn't be surprised if 10 years from now there are mermaids swimming about in your local pool.

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.

     

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