No Limbits: Iowan Founds Company Making Prosthetic Limb Covers

Jan 3, 2019

University of Iowa senior Erica Cole was in a car accident in May of 2018 that so badly crushed her left leg from the knee down that she had to have it amputated. 

She says waking up without her leg after the accident was weird, but more than she was upset, she felt lucky. 

"I felt very lucky to still be here. Going through that and having that fear that I wasn't going to make it.... It sucks, but from the beginning, it was an immediate, 'oh my gosh, I'm still alive. I'm going to make the best of it.'" 

As she tried to recover and adjust to her new life, she says she quickly grew tired of strangers asking her what happened and wanted a way to shift the conversation. 

"As I was out, I started to forget about what happened, and as I got distracted, it was a really nice break from that situation," she explains. "And then I'd have people ask, 'what happened to you?' and I would be brought back in that situation. So, those moments were difficult. I wanted my time out and about to be a break from what I was going through."

With a background in costuming and stained glass work, Cole decided to make a cover for her prosthetic leg out of the kind of plastic that cosplayers use for armor, and it completely changed the conversation. 

During this Talk of Iowa interview, Cole talks with Charity Nebbe about her new company No Limbits, which aims to make affordable, stylish and unique covers for prosthetics limbs. 

"Covers that are on the market right now are really expensive. They are not accessible to most amputees. By using 3D printing, we can make them a lot more affordable and, our hope is, interchangeable. You know, you can change your shoe to match your outfit, you can change your leg too."