Open Bionics wins UK leg of Dyson award

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A low cost 3D-printed bionic hand for amputees has won the UK leg of the James Dyson Award, an annual prize established by the prominent industrialist’s charitable trust, The James Dyson foundation.

Developed by UK design engineer Joel Gibbard, the Open Bionics hand can be 3D printed and assembled in just 40 hours and costs under £1,000, a fraction of the cost of other advanced prosthetics.

As previously reported in The Engineer the device can perform the same tasks as more expensive systems including individual finger movement through the use of electromyographical sensors which are stuck to the amputee’s skin.

“We’ve encountered many challenges in designing our hands,” commented Gibbard, “but the reactions of the individuals we help fuels our perseverance to bring them to market. My aim is for Open Bionics to disrupt the prosthetics industry by offering affordable prosthetics for all.”

James Dyson said: “3D printing has been used by engineers as a prototyping tool for decades, but Joel is using it in a new way to provide cheaper, more advanced prosthetics for amputees. It shows how bold ideas don’t need a big budget and if successful his technology will improve lives around the world.”

Open Bionics and the UK national runners up will progress to the next stage of the competition, which will see 100 entries from around the world whittled down to just 20. The results of this stage will be announced on 17 September 2015. The international winner will be awarded £30,000 to develop their invention.

The overall winner of the 2014 competition was MOM, a portable, inflatable incubator for taking care of babies in environments including refugee camps.