Open Bionics

Creating the next generation of bionic hands with the latest 3D scanning and printing tech.

Open Bionics is a UK-based start-up company developing low-cost bionic hands for amputees using 3D scanning and 3D printing technology.

Samantha Payne, Founder

Samantha is Entrepreneur, Digital Marketer and Journalist and currently part of the Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

"When you are open source you open up your technology to millions of other people who want to improve it. You advance it much faster than if there were just four of us in a robotics lab."

Samantha Payne, Founder

The challenge

There are an estimated one million hand amputees across the world. Currently bionic hands cost up to £90,000, are heavy and only available for those over the age of 14. Traditional prosthetics can help to improve the lives of people living with amputation immeasurably – but they aren’t perfect.

The aim of the project

Open Bionics uses the latest 3D body scanning and printing technology to create bionic hands that are lightweight and cost just £2,000. They are suitable for both adult and child amputees.

Positive outcomes

Open Bionics has released designs for several of their prototypes with an open source license. The company encourages engineers and developers to contribute to the development of bionic hands by joining their developer community. These hands provide a research platform for robotics, or a test platform for prosthetics research. Each hand has been designed to be easy to build and repair.

The company is also changing the way children relate to limb loss. Currently, the only prosthetics available for kids can seem scary and ugly to their peers. Open Bionics has secured licenses from Disney and Marvel to make bionic hands inspired by superheroes and princesses. This will help children to accept and feel positive about their differences.
The latest version of Open Bionics’ robotic hand can be assembled in under one hour, takes 20 hours to print on a desktop 3D printer, and can be controlled via electromyography (EMG) sensors. The hands can also be linked to a monitor to collect data.

After recognising Open Bionic’s work in the 2015 NT100, in 2016 Nominet Trust funded the venture to continue its development. In February 2017, the team won the International UAE Robotics for Good Award in Dubai and a $1 million prize fund.

Watch the Open Bionics video to see the robotic hands in action.

Further Resources

To find out more about Open Bionics visit their website.