Disney And Open Bionics Team Up To Create 3-D Printed Superhero Prosthetic Arms

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Photo Credit: Open Bionics

Prosthetics have come a long way since the first known artificial limb - A wood and leather toe was created for an Egyptian noblewoman nearly 3,000 years ago. However, though they have certainly become increasingly sophisticated and nimble they remain extremely expensive, not to mention very industrial looking.

The combination makes the situation extremely hard for kids with disabilities. Even those that can afford the prosthetics are constantly explaining their condition to their peers. Now thanks to 3-D printing robotics firm Open Bionics and Disney, youngsters that need artificial arms will never have to be concerned about the cost or the look. That's because the two have teamed up to create 3-D printed superhero 'bionic' arms that are affordable, functional, and most important of all, super cool!

Photo Credit: Open Bionics

The offerings that include Ironman, Frozen, and Star Wars-inspired hands were developed in partnership with Disney's Accelerator Program that helps startups with products and technology. Working closely with a team of designers and technicians that created the special effects in the movies, Open Bionics built authentic looking prosthetics that are controlled by electric messages from the wearer's muscles.

The 3-D printed artificial limb is designed to provide the state-of-the art functionality that includes full range finger movement, something that is currently only available in expensive prosthetics. It also monitors the kid's muscle development and helps build up strength and dexterity. This alleviates the need for boring physical therapy. The best part is that the kid's progress can be observed in some neat ways.

Photo Credit: Open Bionics

For example, LED's mounted on the surface of the prosthetics light up to display the muscle signals being sent to the device by the user. This means that kid can look like a superhero, while the physician gets to observe his/her muscle strength in a non-intrusive manner.

If that is not enough to impress you how about this? The vibration motor on the Ironman arm serves two purposes. It quivers like a weapon recoiling when the user fires a "rocket" and provides feedback about the strength of his/her grip.

Photo Credit: Open Bionics

Open Bionics that is based in Bristol, UK, says that the three arms will be available by the end of 2016. The low-cost robotics company believes they will be able to price them at an affordable $500 -$1,000 USD. To help keep the cost as low as possible, Disney has waived all royalties. And for those that are too cool for superheroes, the company promises many more fun designs.

Resources: Metro.co.uk, Independent.co.uk,fastcoexist.com

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VocabularyPlay Game

alleviatesauthenticdexteritydisabilitiesfunctionalintrusivenimbleprostheticsquiversroyaltiessophisticatedwaived

Geography

Bristol, UK
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Reading Comprehension (3 questions)

  1. What are some of the problems with most prosthetics?
  2. How will the new arms made by Open Bionics make life easier for kids with disabilities?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Can you think of the reason the company may have decided to build a cool...

Vocabulary in Context

“Working closely with a team of designers and technicians that created the special effects in the movies, Open Bionics built authentic looking prosthetics that are controlled by...

1116 Comments
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  • TheDiamondEaterThursday, September 14, 2017 at 1:59 am
    cool
    • supertiger56
      supertiger56Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm
      I think that it is so awesome!!
      • alexplays003
        alexplays003Friday, September 8, 2017 at 11:44 am
        It'd be fun if there were a K2SO hand!
        • K.A.R_0808 Sunday, August 27, 2017 at 4:39 am
          I THINK THIS PRETTY COOL TO HELP THESE KIDS IMAGINATE WITH THERE BIONIC WHO AGREES? :3 SIGN K.A.R._0808
          • hoppy
            hoppyTuesday, August 1, 2017 at 3:19 am
            So cool!
            • spacewolf34
              spacewolf34Friday, June 23, 2017 at 8:23 am
              me too I really want one I would get the bionic hand one
              • taco2
                taco2Friday, June 23, 2017 at 6:50 am
                very nice i want one
                • Yoda Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 4:03 pm
                  I'm gonna break my arm so I can get one
                  • alexplays003
                    alexplays003Friday, September 8, 2017 at 11:44 am
                    That is... ok, whatever.
                  • pinkly05
                    pinkly05Monday, May 22, 2017 at 9:41 am
                    Its is amazing that Disney is supporting kids who don't have a arm!
                    • deadeyedanFriday, May 19, 2017 at 10:54 am
                      this is so cool.

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