When I think of 3D Printing, I think of the dystopian universe of Westworld where 3D Printers print out organs and body parts. While a lot of innovation is happening in that area, a more successful and apt use case of 3D Printing in the current times is in the field of Prosthetics and Bionic Arms. A star poster boy of this application is the company Open Bionics.
Open bionics is a company making low cost and affordable bionic hands for amputees using 3D Printing technologies.
In 2014, Joel Gibbard co-founded Open Bionics with Samantha Payne in city of Bristol, U.K. Their mission is to create affordable 3D Printed Prostheses and their first product was the Hero Arm, a stylish multi-grip bionic hand. It is a lightweight, robotic prosthetic device and was designed specifically for children lacking a limb below the elbows. Each bionic arm is personalized to fit its owner and is strong enough to lift objects upto 8 kilograms. The arm is also supposed to offer proportional control and posable limbs, meaning that you can move its wrists and individual fingers and hold or pick up fragile things, like an egg
Companies have always worked on the functionality aspect of the prosthetic, never thinking about it's desirability factor and giving it a realistic look. That's about to change. Open Bionics wants to provide arms that look so good that it becomes an item of pride and not of shame for the amputees. They are currently working on arms that are straight out of the science fiction universe. Themes from Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars franchises are available. The goal is to make kids feel proud of their prostheses.
Whether the kid wants an Iron Man's gauntlet or Princess Elsa's sparkling gloves or even a hand inspired from the famed Star War Movies, they can finally get a prosthetic they love and which other children will be extremely jealous of. Open Bionics was part of the 2015 Disney Accelerator Programme and Disney has provided Open Bionics with a free-use licence of their characters and also helped with the concept and design.
While Open Bionics has received considerable success in the United Kingdom, 3D Printing poses as a revolutionizing technology for the prosthetics industry in developing countries like that of India when it comes to providing low-cost solutions to amputees. We at Tesseract provide affordable high quality 3D Printing Services across India and would love to get on board with anyone who has an idea to take this forward and help better the lives of millions of poor Indians who do have access to such technology.