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Bill Gates Highlights Artistic Bionic Arms for Children Needing Prosthetics

Posted by Brian Spence on Jun 29, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Bionic, Prosthetic, HealthcareMany types and styles of prosthetic arms are available for adults, but kids who need a prosthetic arm have less options. A company in Florida called. Limbitless Solutions has addressed this need by creating bionic arms geared toward children. Limbitless is a non-profit company supported by the University of Central Florida, and they not only want to create an arm that children can use and feel comfortable wearing; they want to be able to distribute them widely at no cost to the families of the disabled children.

To accomplish their goal, Limbitless Solutions uses advanced technology, such as 3-D printing, to create their bionic arms. The hands have fingers which can grasp objects using the body's own electrical signals.

But even if they are able to create an arm that specifically fits kids, will kids feel comfortable wearing it? The engineers realize that when it comes to disabled children, the arm isn't always about picking things up. It's about acceptance. When they enter a room, do people stare at them in a weird way? Do other kids come up and ask them what's wrong with them?

That's why Limbitless Solutions combines scientific improvements with artistic expression. Science and art join forces to create a usable bionic arm that looks exactly the way the child wants it to look. One arm can be bright red and looks like it belongs to a superhero. Another bionic arm has a Hawaiian look with big pink flowers carved in relief against a sky-blue background. Another child might choose a black arm emblazoned with the logo of her favorite sports team. The goal is to make the child feel like this arm belongs entirely to him. It won't be a foreign object that others will be awkward around; it'll be an attraction. People will come up and want to see the arm and marvel at how it looks and works. The child will know he belongs; he's not an outsider in this world.

The first Limbitless bionic arm went to a 7-year-old boy named Alex in 2015. How many more will they produce, and will they succeed in turning bionic limbs into something as commonplace as eyeglasses? It would be a great achievement in the history of occupational therapy.

Are you interested in the field of occupational therapy? Using therapy skills to help children live a better life is a rewarding career. Please contact us to find out what positions are available. And, if interested in learning more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.


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