Robotics Company to 3-D Print Tiny Disney and Marvel-Themed Bionic Arms

Tuesday, 13 October 2015 - 4:07PM
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Tuesday, 13 October 2015 - 4:07PM
Robotics Company to 3-D Print Tiny Disney and Marvel-Themed Bionic Arms
In the past, prosthetic limbs have generally been purely functional, trying to blend into the rest of the body wherever possible. But now, robotics company Open Bionics is embracing the idea that these limbs can help express individuality, and are teaming up with Disney to release bionic arms that allow child amputees to become their favorite fictional characters.

Disney-Themed Bionic Arms

The initiative is part of Disney's Accelerator programme, which is helping technology startups get off the ground and was also responsible for funding the Sphero BB-8. The designs, which include an Iron Man arm "hot out of Tony Stark's workshop," a Snowflake hand inspired by Elsa from Frozen, and a lightsaber arm designed in collaboration with Lucasfilm (with more to come), are intended to help children adjust to their prosthetic limbs, not to mention feel like real-life superheroes. They have LED lights to make them feel more like superhero hands, while the Iron Man hand even has a vibration motor that simulates firing a repulsor blast.

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"Now kids can get excited about their prosthetics," Open Bionics wrote on their website. "They won't have to do boring physical therapy, they'll train to become heroes. They're not just getting medical devices, they're getting bionic hands inspired by their favorite characters."
Closing quote

The limbs can be 3-D printed and custom-fitted, allowing them to serve children quickly and at a particularly low cost. Where most comparable companies have a waiting time of approximately a month, Open Bionics can design and print a little bionic arm in a week. They are also distinct from other prosthetics in that the fingers have a full range of movement; they can open, close, and even pinch. 

Opening quote
"We want to offer something that's functional but looks far better than a hook," Joel Gibbard, CEO of Open Bionics, told WIRED. "We realised that people actually like looking and being different now."
Closing quote


Via Nerdist.
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