Open Prosthetics Conference 2017

The Open Prosthetics Conference will take place in Portland, OR,  August 18-20, 2017. The dates have been finalized. Much appreciation to Pensole Footwear Academy and D'Wayne Edwards for sponsoring the conference through their donation of the venue at their academy space in downtown Portland. 

Let's put our heads together and try to improve prosthetics and learn more about them.

Shared Design Alliance logo showing silhouettes of people collaborating inside a light bulb
SDA Logo Copyright © 2017 Shared Design Alliance

This web page is a publicly editable page called a 'wiki .' Popularized by Wikipedia, this form of asynchronous and nonlinear communication is a self-organized way for large groups of people to communicate, and a great alternative to 'reply all' emails, where information quickly disappears from memory. Please ask for help if you need it. Note that there is an 'edit' button at the top of the page (if logged in).

August 18-20, Portland, OR

Open Prosthetics' inaugural (un)conference will be held Friday through Sunday, August 18-20, 2017 at Pensole Footwear Design Academy in downtown Portland, OR, at 10 NW 5th Ave, 97209. Pensole has an innovative approach to engaging aspiring designers with the footwear industry. Check out founder D'Wayne Edwards' TEDx talk about his journey in the industry.

We've chosen to crowd-source the meeting using the "unconference" format, a more interactive and free-wheeling format than a traditional meeting. This community-editable wiki is designed to help all of you help us create a successful meeting by self-organizing the conference and creating most of the sessions and conversations yourselves. We're shamelessly plagiarizing a lot of the structure of the conference itself and the content of these pages from the O'Reilly Media "Foo Camp" conferences and the wiki pages that they have used to organize the very successful Sci Foo , Health Foo , and others (as well as the last time it was plagiarized for the NCD Quarterly Meeting in Oakland, May 4-6, 214.

Ignite! Presentations

After welcoming everyone Friday evening and getting everyone a bite to eat, we'll kick off an  Ignite! talk session. Ignite is "a geek event...[where] presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes." The motto of the series is "enlighten us, but make it quick." We've been authorized to hold a branded event. Check out the Ignite! Talks page. We will have more Ignite talks on Saturday night  Please read “How to Give a Great Ignite Talk.”

To be added to the schedule for either Friday or Saturday night, please provide the following information and send it to no later than August 11, 2017:

  1. Your topic with a brief abstract of your talk
  2. A copy of your slides in the order of presentation
  3. A brief bio or whatever information you would like to share about yourself

A presentation order will be posted, and the 20 slides loaded sequentially, set to advance as we get through these rapid-fire presentations to whet our appetite and stimulate our mutual discussions and sharing.

    We are anxious to learn what excites and ignites you!

    Be Prepared to Demo or Speak

    This conference will be as good as the participants make it. Be prepared to lead or participate in a session, ask interesting questions, show off what you're working on, and generally leave your mark. Like Burning Man, our goal is that there be no spectators, only participants (hopefully with less dust). Use this wiki page to help generate thought and interest in the topic(s) you're interested in in advance and to maintain contact after the conference. 

    Unconference Sessions

    We'll kick-off the meeting on Friday evening. After our welcoming remarks, you'll have your first chance to sign up to lead a session. We'll save some slots on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning for those who arrive late or get inspired as the event proceeds. 

    Conference Rooms (named for famous amputee inventors or pioneers)

    These are subject to change depending on accessibility needs and evaluation of options at the venue.

    Hanger (under loft with spiral staircase past the front door)

    Dorrance (large room upstairs with workshop)

    Herr (far right on the first floor)

    Radocy (loft with spiral staircase)

    Götz von Berlichingen (center space on the first floor)

    Decker (back of the room on the left as you enter Dorrance)

    Table or Poster Presentation

    Throughout the conference, we'd like to offer the opportunity for researchers, companies, clinical providers and others to have casual conversations with attendees and explain their efforts, products, or whatever it is that they're working on. Contact us and let us know you'd like to attend and how much space you need. Tables and pin up space will be available at the center of the conference space near the entry, and will be available to conference participants throughout the weekend.

    Schedule, Sessions, and Activities


    If you choose, please let us know that you are attending, and provide links to your projects, twitter handle, etc.

    Making the Most of the Unconference Experience

    We've cribbed this conference format as well as much of this pre-conference material from O'Reilly. The below links will take you to their pages about preparing for a Foo Camp focused on software or science, but the principle is the same. What they said:

    Accessibility Plan

    This type of self-organized conference potentially raises many questions around accessibility. In some places, such questions have occasionally pointed toward not doing something as a solution to the difficulty in carrying it off and making it accessible. We're determined not to let that happen here, and we believe that an unconference experience is one that can be a very positive one for everyone, despite our various challenges. One of the challenges is budget, and with an acknowledgement of that constraint, we'd like to open a discussion on any disability access challenges, requests, or solutions. Please check out our Unconference Accessibility Plan, and contribute to the discussion on these issues.

    Housing and Transportation

    Many attendees may find the Residence Inn/Lloyd Center a convenient place to stay.  We have arranged for a room block at the rate of $229.00 per night plus tax, and a reduced parking rate of $10.00 per night.  The room block will be held until July 28, 2017.  You may make your reservation here.  The hotel is located at 1710 NE Multnomah St, Portland, OR 97232. The MAX (light rail) goes from the Portland Airport to close to the hotel.   It is also easy to get from the Residence Inn to the venue at Pensole Footwear Design Academy at 10 NW 5th Ave., Portland, OR using either the MAX or bus.  The hotel is a 7-8 minute walk to the MAX station at Lloyd Center.  To get to the venue, you would take the Green Line going West to City Center/PSU and get off at the 5th Ave/Couch St stop.  It is just a few hundred feet to the venue. Alternatively, you can take the No. 8 bus – about 700 ft to the stop near the hotel and a few hundred feet to the venue from the end stop.  The TriMet Planner gives these options with details.  The return trip would be the reverse.  Buses are accessible to wheelchairs.

    There are other hotels in downtown Portland close to the venue.  Some are quite expensive, and others may not be available.  At last check, there were a few rooms with a shared bathroom at the McMenamins Crystal Hotel, 303 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205.  That hotel is about a half mile walk to the venue.

    Some limited funds are available for those needed financial assistance.  Please email at