Medical Apparatus. Doesn't sound very sexy, does it? Whether it's made in reference to wheelchairs or prosthetic limbs, the phrase can't help but evoke images of beige plastic, rubber straps and metal screws - dull, uniform and - let's face it - seriously unfashionable.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Thanks to the ingenuity and sartorial savvy of forward-thinking brands, healthcare accessories can be just as stylish as any other accessories. After all, in this image-centric world of ours, we 're judged on everything from our shoes to our phones to even our Twitter backgrounds, whether we like it or not - so why should your medical equipment be any less fabulous than the rest of your day-to-day necessities?
In honour of the Paralympics, we've assembled some of the most stylish and advanced medical apparatus around. You'll never have to put up with frumpy beige equipment again.
The Mind-Powered Wheelchair
No, you read that right. Thanks to some clever researchers in Switzerland, the long-held dream of neuroprosthetics (aka brain-powered machines) is now becoming a reality. Using a combination of EEG readings and AI technology, EPFL's mind-powered wheelchair allows the user to move effortlessly from place to place with only the flicker of a brainwave, and also comes equipped with software that detects and avoids obstacles. Minimal effort, maximum chic.
The Designer Prosthetic Leg
If you're looking to get a leg up on the competition for prosthetic limbs, sports brand Adidas has the answer. Designed with athletes in mind, and crafted with electromagnets to give the wearer smoother movement, the Adidas Symbiosis is spearheading the way towards artificial legs that are both functional and fashionable.
The Bionic Prosthetic Arm
Rather than acting as a mere extension of the body, the METIS Bionic Prosthesis aims to fully enhance the physical capabilities of handicapped individuals - welcome to the future . By connecting directly with the wearer's nervous system, it enables 360˚ movement, and also comes with integrated Wi-Fi and 3G capabilities - and that white corian finish will give an ultramodern edge to any outfit.
The Gold-Plated Hearing Aid
Girl, 2012's all about getting some bling bling for your hearing thing. Grey hospital issue aids are so over - in the spirit of the Games, you need a device that comes in 24-carat gold to really make a winning statement. This device also comes encrusted in no fewer than 220 diamonds. Sounds like music to our ears... though perhaps not our wallets.
The Stylish Diabetes Gadget
Smartphone? Check. Tablet? Check. Ninos Glucose Measurement System? It's ONLY the most stylish device for diabetes on the market darling, where have you been? Slick, compact and with an attractive high-tech design, it's a gadget made with style in mind, and a wealth of clever features to help keep your condition in check. And the best part is, it can check glucose levels without the need to take blood samples.
The High-Heeled Artificial Leg
Thanks to industrial designer Aviya Serfaty, gone are the days of awkward mechanical prosthetic legs - Outfeet are taking the next step for stylish artificial limbs. Moulded out of a lightweight carbon fibre, it gives the wearer a smooth, easy range of motion, and has built-in adjustable settings to create arches in the sole. That's right, a high heel effect is possible; Outfeet also comes with a detachable heel feature.