Skip to main content

This prosthetic arm lets kids create their own attachments with Legos

If there’s one thing children all over the world can agree on, it’s that few things excite and affect them as much as setting eyes on a new set of Legos. These iconic building blocks bring out a kid’s inner architect and elicit more joy than running through a sprinkler on a hot day. Understanding this as one of a child’s greatest sources of happiness, Colombian designer Carlos Torres devised a prototype prosthetic arm which gives amputee children the same opportunity to explore their Lego creativity in a unique new way.

Called the IKO Creative Prosthetic System, Torres’ design allows children to easily swap out attachments at the end of their prosthetic arms with things like Lego grabbers, Lego spaceships, or any custom Lego design. From the start, Torres’ goal was to give amputee children the ability to create their own prosthetics while exploring their creative imagination in an enjoyable way.

“What if kids could use their imagination to create their tools according to their own needs,” Torres says on his website, “disabled kids’ needs are not always related to physical activity but often alternatively the social and psychological aspect.”

IKO Creative Prosthetic System

During the design process, Torres worked closely with occupational therapists and clinical psychologists to determine the factors impacting a patient’s self-esteem. Armed with this crucial research, he then traveled to Denmark to work with Lego itself at its Lego Future Lab. While there, Torres partnered with the company’s engineers to help bring his unique idea to life.

“During my time working at the Lego Future Lab I realized that you can pretty much build anything you want with Lego,” Torres told Gizmag in an interview, “but the key feature of the system for me is that Lego sets are something you can build with friends and your family.”

Under the hood, the IKO Creative Prosthetic System has the ability to track any movement from the stump of an arm using myoelectric sensors. These sensors send signals to the prosthetic’s motor, telling it how to move the arm or any of the Lego attachments fixed at the end. To test out the design, Torres visited an eight-year-old Colombian amputee named Dario who put the rig through a series of tests — i.e. shot his friend with Lego lasers, picked objects up with a Lego backhoe, etc. Due to Dario’s immense infatuation with the device, Torres intends to begin commercial production of the prosthetic soon, with hopes of it reaching the market by the end of 2016.

Editors' Recommendations

Rick Stella
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rick became enamored with technology the moment his parents got him an original NES for Christmas in 1991. And as they say…
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more