The world's first clinical trials of 3D printing robotic prostheses started in the UK
The world's first clinical trials of 3D printed robotic prostheses of the upper limbs started in the UK. If the tests are successful, bionic prostheses will be used in all state hospitals of the country.
The robotic prostheses are made by Open Bionics. Using the possibilities of 3D modeling and printing, the company can create a functional replacement of the upper limb in a day. Moreover, such a bioprosthesis will meet individual characteristics of the patient.
10 children are taking part in clinical trials, which are held in the Bristol hospital under the supervision of the British health service. For these kids, special robotic hands were made, the cost of each does not exceed £5 000. More sophisticated prostheses are more expensive, around £60 000, but they can be used by the adults only.
Open Bionics prostheses are controlled though special sensors. They catch movements of the muscles, unclenching or compressing the mechanical fingers at the will of the person.
Design of artificial limbs deserves high attention as well. Open Bionics has entered into a gratuitous agreement with Disney, so prosthetic devices look like bionic hands of heroes of comic book, video games or movies. For example, one can order a robotic arm in the style of the Iron Man or the character of the Deus Ex game.
The Open Bionics project has every chance of success. At the Small Business Research Initiatives competition, the company won £100 000 that were spent for financing the research and developments. After clinical trials, Open Bionics plans to apply for a government grant to make bionic prostheses available in all public clinics in the UK.
According to statistics, there are more than 30 million people in the world who need hand prostheses. Open Bionics provides a chance for many of them to get a quality robotic limb.