An unexpected amputation completely changed Rong Xia's life. But she took this as an opportunity to deal with the topic professionally and to found her own company for the development of prostheses. What her goals are and how else she rolls, she tells us on REHACARE.com.
Name: Rong Xia Age: 32 City: Chengdu, China Occupation: Founder of ZHProsthesis Disability: Missing right calf (prosthesis user)
What makes a day a good day to you?
Rong Xia: A good day for me is: Waking up in the morning, having breakfast with my family and then each one goes about working / striving for their own careers. Go home in the evening, have dinner with my family and then go for a walk or reasonable exercise after dinner. One hour of reading before bed. To put it simply: It is to be with your family, have your own job/career, exercise reasonably and read every day. That gives a sense of fulfillment in life. Ha ha ha...
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
Rong Xia: For me, my prosthetics are essential aids.
What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Rong Xia: I hope that the society and the general public can treat people with disabilities equally. For example, when seeing a person with an assistive device, one should have the same level of equality as seeing a person with glasses. If you think the other person is cool / brave, you can smile and greet them warmly, then maybe you can become friends.
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
Rong Xia: Due to my own physical impairment, I pay more attention to prosthetics in my daily life. For prosthesis users, in summer, the residual limb is extremely hot and stuffy in the prosthetic limb socket, which can easily cause skin diseases. In winter, the residual limbs are very cold and prone to frostbite.
Are there any materials that are warm in winter and cool in summer that can be applied to the socket of prosthetics? Most of the current prosthetic joints are passive, which is not very user friendly. So, can technology from other fields be applied to smart prosthetics? For example, can advanced technologies in the fields of automobiles / AI / robotics be applied to prosthetic joints to make the lives of prosthetic users more convenient. It makes me think about super soldiers :)
Rong Xia has taken her impairment as an opportunity to found her own company: ZHProsthesis.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you?
Rong Xia: The biggest challenge I have overcome so far is the psychological trauma of an unexpected amputation. Assistive devices can be used to replace missing parts of limbs, allowing people to stand upright. But the psychological trauma after the loss needs support from the surrounding environment to recover.
In my darkest moments of fear / fright / despair, books and my "role model" Cai Shiyin (founder of "Dialogue in the Dark") gave me the psychological strength to stand up during that period. Cai Shiyin’s cognition and concept of people with disabilities have a great influence on me. For example, disability cannot be attributed to an entire person, it is merely a part of that person. Her words and deeds truly show what equality is.
What can the assistive technology industry learn from the Corona pandemic to make life easier and/or better for people with disabilities in the future? Rong Xia: I think the advancements of the internet and the digital era can be further applied to users' rehabilitation training, that is, to digitize rehabilitation. In this way differences and costs incurred by rehabilitation institutions can be reduced, and users can have more cost-effective and efficient rehabilitation plans, that can be iterated based on rehabilitation data.
If nothing was impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Rong Xia: The boss of IKEA. IKEA is the first social enterprise to go global. I really want to solve some problems in the domestic prosthetics industry using the social enterprise model. So far, in practice, things still operate like a charity. This is not what I want. I look forward to meeting the predecessors of social enterprises, learn from them, and maybe get some inspiration from them.