Disney is Helping Make ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Star Wars’ Bionic Hands For Kids
Some stories can melt your heart in an instant. Disney has always been something for children and the child in you. So, it pleases one to hear that the mass media and entertainment giant will be helping a UK-based start up in making prosthetic hands for children more appealing. And how will Disney help with that? By doing it the Disney way, of course.
Open Bionics is the name of the UK-based start up that focuses on low-cost 3D-printed prosthetics. The company is also a part of Disney’s Techstars Accelerator program. Disney is giving Open Bionics royalty-free licenses to create prosthetics modeled off of Iron Man, Elsa from Frozen, and a glowing, buzzing ‘lightsaber hand’ familiar to millions of Star Wars fans.
But the fun doesn’t just end with the design. It also does things, too. Take the lightsaber hand, for example. You can turn on a set of LED lights that illuminate the prosthetic which also give off the lightsaber-like buzzing sounds. A button also lets you change the saber’s colour because fans know that characters like Luke Skywalker, Yoda and Darth Vader favour different couloured lightsabers.
Similarly, the Iron Man gauntlet will let the child shoot off “rockets”. Well, not really, but with the LED lights and sounds and a vibrating motor it does give off that feeling. But the prosthetics aren’t just expensive toys. They’re made to help the child and provide physical therapy while having fun. The motor gives a haptic feedback to the child when he non-threateningly fires from the Iron Man gauntlet and also serves to indicate the strength of the grip being exerted by the child. Apart from serving a fun light show, the LED lights also lets parents and doctors understand what signals are being sent to the device.
Open Bionics CEO Joel Gibbard told Independent that, “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?”
Earlier this year, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) himself paid a visit to a seven-year old boy and gave the kid a custom-made Iron Man prosthetic gauntlet. Watch the video below that is sure to bring a smile to your face today.
Open Bionics is hoping to make a big difference with these prosthetic hands and is aiming to have them available by the end of next year at a reasonable price of around $500.