Empowering Design Solutions for Orbital Epitheses, Avoiding the Uncanny Valley

  • Julie SnykersEmail author
  • Yvonne Motzkus
  • Marieke Van Camp
  • Kristof Vaes
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 794)


Current humanlike orbital epitheses are unnoticeable from afar. When bystanders come closer and discover the epithesis, they often react distressed. This can be explained by the uncanny valley effect. Humanlike epitheses fall in the depths of the uncanny valley and potentially evoke negative responses from bystanders. Instead of hiding the epithesis, this study suggests a shift towards empowering designer epitheses located on the left side of the uncanny valley. A literature study was conducted to determine the state-of-the-art on facial epitheses and stigma-free design. In addition, interviews were organized with six anaplastologists and five orbital epithesis wearers. Design workshops with stakeholders allowed to derive three promising design directions for orbital design epitheses. Additionally, lead users identified three specific use cases: professional, personal/casual, and social/festive use. These explorations resulted in a better understanding of future challenges and values.


Uncanny valley effect Facial prosthesis Orbital epithesis Empowerment Stigma Inclusive design 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Snykers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yvonne Motzkus
    • 2
  • Marieke Van Camp
    • 1
  • Kristof Vaes
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty Design SciencesUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.Berliner Zentrum für künstliche Gesichtsteile, Epithetiklabor in der MKG-ChirurgieBerlinGermany

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