Otago Polytechnic worked with Limbitless Solutions from the USA to create a bionic arm.
The Limbitless Solutions team of students are developing health devices which can be manufactured at low cost to reach many people around the world, as a social rather than a commercial venture. They came to New Zealand for the International Science Festival this year, to show children what science can be about.
Otago Polytechnic's Matt King (Engineering) and Andrew Wallace (Product Design) partnered with Limbitless Solutions to design and produce a new artificial limb for King's High School student Corey Symon. While Limbitless Solutions focused on the engineering technology, Otago Polytechnic worked directly with Corey, to customise the design for him.
Andrew says design needs to be human-centred, adding value at both the business level and the social level. While Matt worked on scaling the technology to fit Corey, Andrew and Corey co-designed the arm's appearance, producing drawings together to ensure Andrew captured what Corey wanted it to look like.
Corey has had other prostheses before so the real impact of this project for him was the opportunity to be involved, to co-create his own accessory. It is hoped that one day 3D printers will enable Corey to produce an arm for himself.