In Bristol, United Kingdom, the world's first clinical trial of 3D-printed bionic hands for child amputees has begun. The technology is manufactured by a company called Open Bionics based in South Gloucestershire, launched four years ago. Upon success of the trial, the bionic hands will become available on the National health Service.
"It's awesome and it makes you feel confident," said Tilly Lockey in an interview with BBC, a young girl who lost her hand due to meningitis. She has a prototype of a 3D-printed hand. "Instead of people feeling sorry for you 'cause you don't have a hand they're like 'oh my gosh that's a cool hand!'"
The manufacturing of bionic hands used to be too expensive to get on the NHS (National Health Service), but will soon be available following the trials. Open Bionics, based inside the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, the largest robotics research centre in Europe, is working with ten children for the trials.
Open Bionics has estimated there are approximately 2 million hand amputees around the world. Founded by Joel Gibbard and Samantha Payne in 2014, the company has won numerous prizes, including a million dollar award for a 3D-printed bionic arm prosthesis which the team won in international category at the UAE Robotics for Good Awards in Dubai earlier this year.