Leave it to a former LEGO intern to come up with a prosthetic arm that encourages kids to build and create using their favorite blocks. Carlos Arturo Torres, who spent time with the LEGO Future Lab research department, recently won the Grand Prix at a digital technology summit in Paris for his LEGO-compatible IKO prosthetic arm. Drawing on his own experience growing up in war-torn Colombia, with many people losing limbs as a result of conflict, and his awareness of how kids with prosthetic limbs can feel isolated and different, Torres set out to create a prosthetic that kids would enjoy integrating into their play and which would boost their creativity and self-esteem. The IKO prosthetic, which uses myoelectric sensors to “read” the electric signals that travel along the muscles of the wearer and then respond, has several LEGO attachments, including a remote control digger. As shown in the picture, kids could connect a variety of LEGO parts into the IKO, including some that could hinge, be stacked, or act as connectors to other LEGO pieces. Functioning as a creative surface for building with other LEGO figures and blocks, the IKO can help change the perception of the child’s disability into a cool and interesting conversation piece and activity. The IKO prosthetic, which includes a 3D-printed socket that could be reprinted and adjusted as the child grows, also has a detachable articulated robotic hand that acts as a fully functional prosthesis for when it’s time to put the LEGOs away and take on other tasks.
Images © Carlos Arturo Torres