Open Bionics and the NHS Launch World’s First Trial of 3D Printed Bionic Hands for Children

Open Bionics is working with the NHS on a world first clinical trial to make affordable bionic hands available for children in the UK, turning children with limb differences into superheros. Their 3D-printed devices for child amputees, based on popular Disney characters from Iron Man, Frozen and Star Wars, are designed to be produced at a fraction of a cost of current models.

They’re working with 10 children isouth-westst England during the six-month trial to gather feedback and optimise the bionic hands. Tilly Lockey, an 11-year-old from Durham who lost her hands after she developed meningitis as a baby, told us that her prototype bionic hand “looks awesome and it makes you feel confident. Instead of people thinking they feel sorry for you because you don’t have a hand, they’re like: ‘Oh my gosh, that’s a cool hand!’” she said. Tilly’s hand is themed on Deus Ex, one of her favourite video games.

Open Bionic’s arms can be created in just over 42 hours, using cutting-edge 3D scanning and printing techniques to ensure a personalised and comfortable fit. Currently-available prosthetics with controllable fingers take months to fit and can cost up to £60,000, which is a huge obstacle to children who are growing so quickly.

Their new lightweight design uses a 3D printer to create the hand in four separate parts, and is custom-built to fit the patient using scans of their body. Sensors attached to the skin detect the user’s muscle movements, which can be used to control the hand and open and close the fingers. If the NHS trial succeeds, they look forward to offering the product at NHS clinics across the country. Give them a follow on TwitterFacebook or Instagram and be the first to hear about their behind-the-scenes work and latest cutting-edge advancements. You can check out more of their projects on


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