Open Bionics is a British startup that launched in 2014
It now provides bionic limbs to thousands of amputees across the world, including the UK, Spain, Germany, and the US
Their Hero Arm designs are the most popular multi-grip bionic limbs sold in the United Kingdom
The world of 3D printing is still in its infancy, but that doesn’t stop it from providing some of the most incredible innovations we’ve seen in recent years. Perhaps one of the greatest examples of this is the work of Open Bionics, a UK based company that produces 3D printed bionic limbs.
These bionic limbs wowed technology communities across the globe a few years ago when they initially debuted, and they’ve continued their track record right up to the present day. Open Bionics provide bionic limbs that differ from previous incarnations in their lightweight design.
In addition to this, they were cheap to make and came in a variety of creative and exciting designs. Many are inspired by popular media, such as the Marvel Avengers movies. One such example is the Iron Man-inspired design, that is not only accurately colored to match the superhero’s own, but even lights up when receiving signals.
A successful investment, and an even more successful invention
Since then, the innovators behind Open Bionics managed to sign a deal with the UK’s National Health Service, providing these much needed bionic limbs to many of the children most in need of them. More recently, the company managed to raise a total of $5.9 million in investor contributions.
Open Bionics stated that this money would allow them to continue to produce innovative designs. More importantly, it places them as the most affordable option for national healthcare services such as the ones found in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States.
The Iron Man designs are not sold through these national healthcare service providers, however. Open Bionics opened its first array of privately sold designer bionic limbs in May 2018, aptly calling the range ‘Hero Arm.’ Since then, it has become the best selling multi-grip bionic hand in the United Kingdom.
Following this success, Open Bionics hopes to sell these incredible robotic limbs throughout other European countries, such as Spain and Germany, with similar success. The ‘Hero Arm’ is specially designed to fit children as young as nine, but looking as awesome as they do, it’s clear that anyone of any age could enjoy and benefit from these new innovations in prosthetics.
They don’t only look cool; they also possess extraordinary practical applications
The genius of these bionic limbs, of course, does not stop with the exciting aesthetics. Besides performing full multi-grip functionality, they also allow the user to have complete control over the strength over their grip, meaning they can be as gentle or as firm with their grip as they desire depending on the circumstances.
Founders Samantha Payne and Joel Gibbard have said that these new investments will allow their outreach to only grow in size, meaning more and more people who need these life-changing robotic limbs will have access to them as necessary.
Their innovative designs and incredible, practical applications will change the lives of hundreds and thousands
Open Bionics started when Gibbard, 25 at the time, quit his full-time job to launch into the world of robotics. His passionate endeavor led to the purchasing of a 3D printer through crowdfunding, and from there (with the help of co-founder Samantha Payne and a team of engineers), the extraordinary startup Open Bionics came to life.
Payne is quoted as saying, “We’re exceptionally excited to receive this support from such high caliber investors who not only offer financial backing but incredible experience in commercialization, measuring impact, and engineering high-performance hardware.”
Whatever the future of Open Bionics, one thing is certain: their innovative designs and incredible, practical applications will change the lives of hundreds and thousands. As 3D printing becomes a more widely used tool, who knows what lies ahead in the world of prosthetic limbs, and perhaps this is just an incredible first step toward a world where the weight an amputee carries is far less than it once was.
A deeper dive – Related reading on the 101
From robotic limbs to robotic interviewers, the world of robotics is only getting bigger
It’s more than just a meme: sure, they did surgery on a grape, but what’s next for robotics?
How does that saying go? Life imitates art, and art imitates robots…?