Hoping to build the confidence of children living with a missing limb, Carlos Arturo Torres Tovar, of Umeå University in Sweden, has designed a prosthetic arm that’s compatible with Lego so kids can swap its gripping attachment for their own custom creations.
The arm functions very similar to traditional prosthetics, but it features a twist-and-lock modular design that’s easy for kids to assemble. And with a special motorized adapter, its standard three finger gripper can be swapped out for one made entirely of Lego. By essentially turning the prosthetic into one of their toys, Carlos hopes his IKO arm will empower children by improving their every day lives, but also their confidence while interacting with other children who might feel uncomfortable.
If the child has access to Lego Mindstorms, the attachment they design and build can even be as articulated as the prosthetic’s standard gripper—but movement isn’t essential to the usefulness of the IKO. Kids love Lego because it helps them realize whatever they can imagine, and even if the laser blaster they’ve attached to the end of the arm doesn’t fire, in a child’s mind they will still feel like a super hero.
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