Company NewsJanuary 25, 2024

Meet the start-up making mobility accessible and sustainable

Hopper’s multi-use, accessible prosthetic running blades aim to make impaired mobility a thing of the past.
Avatar Shoshana Kranish

For mobility-impaired individuals, prosthetic legs can be a life-changing tool. They offer opportunities for independence and athleticism that weren’t previously thought possible. However, they aren’t without their issues.

French start-up Hopper is aiming to change that.

A member of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab accelerator, they’re focused on creating prosthetics that are accessible for those who need them.

Unlike existing options that are specifically made for running on a certain type of terrain, Hopper’s blades get the job done no matter the sort of ground that’s underneath their wearer. Because they can withstand everything from solid pavement to dirt, gravel and woods, they can be used for a variety of activities. Existing models are typically limited to a particular surface they can be used on.

Amputee athletes may have access to high-performance blades, but the average mobility-impaired individual who wants to maintain an active lifestyle may not. Amputees require separate blades for different activities, and these prostheses can carry a hefty price tag. That means acquiring the requisite ones for various sports and hobbies can be a financial difficulty.

While one-size-fits-all products often get a bad rap, an affordable, versatile prosthetic blade can be an excellent solution for mobility-impaired people who want to stay active.

Hopper’s blades are functional for a variety of activities, from running to walking to hiking and beyond. Made from recycled materials, they’re committed to creating goods sustainably. The company’s commitment to eco-friendly practices extends beyond simply the material they use, though. In addition to Hopper’s blades being multi-purpose, they’re working on creating an adjustable model, which will be suitable for growing children. While adults experiencing impaired mobility might be able to purchase one blade for adulthood, children missing lower limbs still need to get a new one every few years as they grow.

Beyond being overly specific, prosthetic running blades are often quite costly for their users. Racing blades in particular, which are favored by athletes professional and amateur alike, are unlikely to be covered or reimbursed by insurance for non-athletes. Reducing the price tag by approximately $1000 and ensuring the blade’s versatility, Hopper’s solution is cost-effective.

To promote sustainability, Hopper sources recycled carbon from industry partners like Airbus. In doing so, they’re taking goods used in one transportation form — aeronautics — and applying them directly to enable mobility for those who have lost it. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables not only cross-collaboration between the company’s partners in different industries, but allows the company to complete drawings, simulations and sizing processes in one virtual place. Using the integrated project management capabilities that the platform offers Hopper the ability to innovate quickly and efficiently, turning out products that are changing lives.

Learn about other 3DEXPERIENCE Lab start-ups leveraging technology for improved physical health:

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