A bionic arm can cost upwards of £80,000, meaning a large proportion of the world’s arm amputees must make do without a working prosthesis. Open Bionics is a UK-based startup which uses 3D printing technology to create bionic limbs for amputees at a fraction of the cost of traditional prosthetics.
How they’re disrupting
Open Bionics’ affordable prosthetic is much cheaper than traditional prosthetics because it is 3D-printed using thermoplastic elastomer, a flexible plastic. The amputee is 3D-scanned and a tailor-made bionic limb and socket are printed in a matter of days, with final fitting taking place less than a week after an initial assessment. All of this can be done for under £1000.
There are 2 million hand amputees worldwide.
Investments and future
Open Bionics received a £85,000 equity investment from Disney’s Tech Accelerator in 2015, during which the company developed a range of superhero-themed bionic hands for children. The startup also won the UK’s prestigious James Dyson Award in 2015.