This week’s selection is the Hero Arm by Open Bionics.
Open Bionics is a UK company that makes 3D printed bionic arms. Their flagship product is the “Hero Arm”, which is said to be the lightest, most comfortable and most affordable bionic arm on the market. This class of product is typically priced extremely high, and is thus out of reach of many in need. That’s not the plan with Open Bionics, which has somehow managed to keep their product prices in the lower range.
The Hero Arm is an interesting design, as it involves 3D printing multiple components in different materials. While the main mechanical parts are printed with SLS in PA12, the parts that touch the body are in soft TPU. The exterior covers are made with plain PLA.
The Hero Arm is controllable: sensors in the arm can detect slight muscle movements at the attachment point, and can translate them to trigger movement in the forearm, wrist and fingers. Wearers must learn this movement, but it’s easy to do. Once done, the wearer is able to regain a great many functions that are not possible with a single arm.
The company offers a number of variations, including licensed designs from popular shows and characters.
The news today is that Open Bionics has been working with the Superhumans Center in Ukraine to produce bionic arms for wounded soldiers. The Superhuman Center explains:
“Thousands of Ukrainians have suffered life-changing injuries, wounded at the battlefield and at the streets of their cities. We are launching a modern war victim rehabilitation center for adults and children in Ukraine, to give these people a superhero life they deserve.”
It’s appropriate that the Superhuman Center is able to make use of the Hero Arm.
So far, Open Bionics has been able to produce arms for two soldiers, Andrii and Vitalii, and I suspect there may be more forthcoming, as the need is great.
Open Bionics has developed an incredible design that is not only highly functional, but also can be produced at a low cost with 3D print technology.