Ever try sitting on your hands and eating a hamburger? Bessie Blount Griffin (1914-2009) saw self-feeding for amputees as quite a challenge. She invented an innovative solution to assist her patients in developing greater independence.
This week in Black History Month we honor innovator, writer, physical therapist, inventor and forensic scientist Bessie Blount Griffin.
Many soldiers returning from World War II returned as amputees. Griffin’s goal was to help them gain independence in performing daily activities such as writing and eating. Recognizing that much of the equipment in use at the time was inadequate, Blount found innovative ways to rehabilitate her patients.
Blount’s device for self-feeding was a tube that delivered individual bites of food to the patient at his or her own pace. The patient would bite down on the tube for the next bit of food to be delivered to the mouthpiece. Blount also demonstrated her inventions on a television show called “The Big Idea” in 1953, the first woman and the first African American to appear on the program.
“If you can do it, do it..If you can achieve it, achieve it.”
-Bessie Blount Griffin
Can you conquer a similar challenge? Download our free Elevate Science Engineering Design Challenge “Reaching Out with Prosthetics” and build a model of a prosthetic arm.
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Sources: Lemelson MIT ; BlackPast.org ; NYTimes.com