Portraits In Posthumanity: Aimee MullinsS

A one-time intelligence analyst with the Pentagon, Aimee Mullins is an athlete, model, and activist. And she does it all using a collection of experimental prosthetic legs. She says her special "cheetah" legs give her superpowers.

On her website, Mullins gives a quick background on how she got where she is today:

Born without fibulae in both legs, Aimee's medical prognosis was bleak; she would never walk and indeed would spend the rest of her life using a wheelchair. In an attempt for an outside chance at independent mobility, doctors amputated both her legs below the knee on her first birthday. The decision paid off. By age two, she had learned to walk on prosthetic legs, and spent her childhood doing the usual athletic activities of her peers: swimming, biking, softball, soccer, and skiing, always alongside "able-bodied" kids.

Portraits In Posthumanity: Aimee MullinsS

When Mullins was in college at Georgetown:

She set her sights on making the US Team for the 1996 Atlanta Games. She enlisted the expertise of Frank Gagliano, one of the country's most respected track coaches. Through this partnership, she became the first woman with a "disability" to compete in the NCAA, doing so on Georgetown's nationally-ranked Division I track team. Outfitted with woven carbon-fiber prostheses that were modeled after the hind legs of a cheetah, she went on to set World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump, sparking a frenzy over the radical design of her prototype sprinting legs.

Several other athletes have used the legs developed for Mullins, and they have set a new standard for prosthetic legs that allow the wearer to participate in sports.

Portraits In Posthumanity: Aimee MullinsS

Here's an incredibly interesting video where Mullins talks about how her legs give her superpowers:

Click to view

What makes Mullins posthuman is her attitude toward her prosthetics. She doesn't view them as "fixing" something, but rather as augmentations. She wants them to be beautiful, to give her superpowers, to be parts of her body that people look at with admiration. With her public speaking and athletics, Mullins has popularized the idea that synthetic body parts are something to show off, rather than hide.

Learn more about Mullins on her website. Below are some of Mullins' many sets of legs.

Portraits In Posthumanity: Aimee MullinsS