I’m a grown man and I have both hands, which makes it impossible for me to understand what kids with a prosthetic limb might go through while growing up.
When I was 10, I remember kids used to make fun of others for wearing glasses and I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must be for a child with a prosthetic limb to fit into society and build strong self-esteem.
Carlos Arturo Torres, formerly of the Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden, now living in Chicago, Illinois, was probably thinking the same thing when he designed Iko, a prosthetic arm for children that also acts as a platform for creative Lego projects.
The project was awarded the prize for Open Design Student in the 2015 Core77 Design Awards earlier this month.
"The needs of a kid in disability are not always related to physical activity but often alternatively the social and psychological aspect; sometimes a functional element is everything they need, but some other times it might be a spaceship, or a doll house, or a telescope, or a video game controller, or a swim fin," Torres explained (opens in new tab) on the project page on Core77.
"What if kids could use their imagination to create their own prosthetics, their own tools according to their own needs? Learning. Creating. Being kids."
The arm was created in collaboration with Lego Future Lab, the toy company's research and development team, and CIREC, a foundation for physical rehabilitation. It basically allowed kids to build their own prosthetics.
The prototype was tested by a little boy named Dario, who was able to control a Lego backhoe, an LED on a spaceship, and Lego grippers attached to his arm using the myoelectric sensors.
Iko was designed so that children could collaborate and bond over it, rather than feel isolated and different because of a prosthetic.
To see this amazing technology in action, check out the video below.