Startup company Open Bionics is teaming up with Disney to specially produce affordable 3D prosthetic hands for children. The best part is that Disney's provided the organization with royalty-free licenses, so that these life-changing devices can be modeled after popular characters and superheroes. There's a bionic hand that pays homage to Iron Man, one that was inspired by Frozen‘s Elsa, and even a Star Wars, lightsaber-themed hand. “The power of these prosthetics is that the public perception is completely different. All of a sudden they're not being asked how they lost their hand, they're being asked where they got their cool robot hand, how does it feel, and how does it work?” Open Bionics CEO Joel Gibbard told Independent. “What might have been perceived as their greatest weakness is seen as their greatest strength.”
To help the startup make quality prosthetics, they were given $120,000 as part of Disney's Techstars Accelerator program. This will allow them to develop models that are directed by a user's muscle movements. The bionic hands will also contain vibrating motors, which provide feedback when the child uses their “powers”–when they fire an Iron Man rocket, for example–and simultaneously reveals the child's grip strength. LED lights supply the hands with fun lights, but also give doctors and parents the opportunity to understand what signals are being sent to the revolutionary tool. On the Star Wars prosthetic, these lights can be adjusted to display the individual's favorite color.
As they continue to change kids' lives, Open Bionics' main goal is to make these bionic hands affordable. By the end of next year, they hope to create more designs that cost around $500.