Remember that time you broke your arm in the third grade while riding your bike? Or that one kid in school who had everyone sign their cast before it was taken off? Not being able to use an arm for those long weeks can seem like a nightmare – but some kids face that everyday.
Whether it be because of deformities at birth, disease or other illnesses, these children spend their time getting fitted for prosthetics rather than going out and living the fun-filled life that every child should get to experience.
In comes Open Bionics. Open Bionics uses 3-D printing technology to create easy to use and affordable prosthetics. The best part? These aren’t any ordinary prosthetics but rather, some extraordinary ones brought to us by the Magic of Disney, the super-ness of Marvel and the out-of-this-world greatness of the Star Wars franchise.
Open Bionics has recently partnered with these three entertainment powerhouses to create themed prosthetics. Among the unveiled designs are an Iron Man sleeve, a Princess Elsa glove and a light up mechanistic glove from Star Wars. Disney donated $120 000 to help with this initiative and also licensed Open Bionics to use their themes royalty-free.
Apart from the aesthetic design, the prosthetic arms are built for growing children. The high tech hands monitor the strength used when gripping objects to help track the wearer’s muscle development over time.
CEO Joel Gibbard says the goal of his company is to help change the perception of prosthetics. Rather than have a child receive dozens of questions about what happened to their hand or why they don’t have an arm, they will now get asked about their cool robot hand. While just a prosthetic, the ‘coolness’ and confidence of the original wearers (be it Iron Man, Elsa or Luke Skywalker) transfer over to the child – so that “What might have been perceived as their greatest weakness is seen as their greatest strength” (Gibbard to The Independent).
Check out http://www.openbionics.com/ for more details about their project!