University of the West of England: Robotic Arms for Amputees

A start-up company that began at the University of the West of England’s (UWE) Robotics Laboratory, before moving to their Future Space Enterprise Zone, has created the world’s first medically certified 3D-printed bionic arm.

Open Bionics’ Hero Arms are a lightweight, lower-cost option to allow amputees to take part in every-day activities. The arms are controlled by the user’s muscles and have an initiative life-like precision.

Open Bionics worked with a number of other organisations when developing their product, including the NHS, and has received funding F1’s Williams advanced engineering group. They were recently named the 6th most innovative company in Europe by Business magazine Fast Company.

Co-founder Samantha Payne said, “I co-founded open bionics because we wanted to build assistive devices that could enable people to have more freedom and independence. And we wanted these devices to be really affordable. So at the moment, there’s this amazing bionic technology that exists but it’s out of reach for most patients because it’s so expensive. We want to completely change that and make it really accessible and de-marketize a really helpful technology.”