A Mermaid's Tale

  • Mermaid
  • Mermaid
  • Mermaid
  • Peter Lyon, Nadya Vessey, Andrew Gillespie and Lee Williams

Rather than having to go through the logistics of amputation with a four-year-old, Vessey said: "Do you know about the Little Mermaid?

"He said he did, so I told him: `Well I'm a mermaid'."

Weta has donated staff time and expertise into make the tail, and Vessey has been able to cover the costs of the materials from a grant that she received from the Kerr-Taylor Foundation Trust.

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The team here at Weta have recently completed work on a rather unusual project, creating a fully functional Mermaid tail for Auckland woman Nadya Vessey, who is a double leg amputee.

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Ms Vessey approached Weta with the ambition of making a tail that was both practical and beautiful, a task that proved to be a pleasing challenge for our team.

The unique articulated construction of the tail will allow Vessey to propel herself through the water with an undulating movement as if she was a mermaid.

Every aspect of the tail has been custom made to Vessey's body using a blend of 3D modelling and milling technology, combined with Vi Vac vacforming, and a poly carbonate spine and tail fin. The skin of the tail has been made from a layer of neoprene and a lycra outer-layer digitally printed with a stunning ‘scale' pattern, that was designed by one of our concept artists.

Vessey was born with a condition that meant her legs would never develop properly, but began swimming after she had her first leg amputated at seven. Despite having her other leg amputated at 16, she swam competitively in high school and now swims as often as she can.

Vessey says she is thinking of using the tail to help her complete the swimming section of a triathlon.

"I thought rather than just having it as a plaything, I would take it further." Vessey, who is in her 50s, was inspired to get a tail a few summers ago after an encounter at the beach.

"A little boy came up and started asking all the `why' questions about my legs (she was removing her prosthetic legs)," she says.

 


Tags: Peter Lyon

Most useful user comments

Bzarr
26/02/09
Weta Fan

Well done Weta!

This story caught my eye on a gadget website & I had... Read more.

This story caught my eye on a gadget website & I had to read more. AMAZING Well done weta for going above & beyond the call of duty, you've made me feel all warm & fuzzy about being a member of the human race. Hide.

4 of 4 people found this useful.

Quatermass
27/02/09
Weta Fan

Yes, bravo!!

That's great and very cool and ditto what Bzarr said. Read more.

That's great and very cool and ditto what Bzarr said. Hide.

3 of 3 people found this useful.

Sue64
01/03/09
Weta Fan

A mermaid tale

Awesome work as ever. Nadia asked the right company for help.... Read more.

Awesome work as ever. Nadia asked the right company for help. What a beautiful result! Hide.

2 of 2 people found this useful.