Watch our video to find out more
Credit to The ERA Foundation ‘Born to Engineer’ – a DuckRabbit Film
Sadly, for children with very little or no forearm there are almost no options besides cosmetic prostheses (think of a doll’s hand) or expensive and heavy electronic (bionic) arms. As great as they are at boosting children’s confidence, many open source, 3D printed arms are weak, brittle and contain lots of small parts. They are bulky and must be worn over a child’s clothing. For these reasons they are not suitable for children under four years of age and crucially can’t be certified as medical devices (CE certificated / FDA approved).
Many parents who contact us also complain of ill fitting, traditionally made prosthetics. Children can find fitting distressing and parents must often take half days from work to attend appointments. It can then take as long as 11 weeks for health care organisations such as the NHS to supply a device and they don’t always fit correctly so alterations have to be made. Finally, many parents also have concerns about the appearance of medically prescribed devices, how others react to them and how that can affect children who wear them.
What’s so different about Ambionics?
All of our devices will be certified as safe for the intended age groups starting from just a few weeks of age. We’re seeking investment to implement a totally new approach (Very Early Prosthetic Intervention) and develop our unique hydraulic technology (patent pending) which enables infants as young as 8 months of age to operate a mechanical hand safely. We can achieve this without expensive motors, control systems and batteries or complicated wire and lever mechanisms and harnesses. Instead, by placing water-filled rubber sacks (actuators) at pressure points on the body (e.g. under the arm, inside the socket or even within a shoe!) pressure can be generated by the user which then operates the grabbing system. Our approach is bio-mimetic – inspired by the way that spiders use fluid pressure to move their legs.
“Putting the ‘bio’ back into bionics”
We believe that this inexpensive but life changing technology could help very young children learn to use prosthetics and live more engaging lives right from the very start.
Featured image: Ambionics (spring activated) functional passive
Fully Customised Prosthetic Care
Each arm we create is customised to the user from a 3D scan of their limb. This might sound expensive but actually we use Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect scanners costing around £20 ($30) per unit – a fantastic use for outdated gaming technology. Parents usually perform the scan at home whilst their children are asleep. Once this is done they send us the file. We clean up the scan data then design and supply test sockets followed by the full arm system.
Watch this video to see the magic happen!
With support from our sponsor (RS Components), design input from Autodesk as part of and biomedical interns from Aston University, we are carrying out a beta trial and giving away twenty arms to children in Africa, Australia, South America, Canada and across Europe. With obvious benefits to the children, this is also helping us to refine our service, develop our prototypes and beta test the systems and processes needed to role out on a large scale in 2018-19. We are also partnered with Warwick School of Engineering under Autodesk’s Future of British Manufacturing initiative. Ambionics is based from a home office on Anglesey but will be relocating to a science park in England once a suitable agreement has been negotiated.
Some of the amazing kids we are working with on the beta trial this year.
Want To Help Ambionics?
If you are able to contribute to our fund raising efforts you can do so here
We accept debit / credit card payments and PayPal. if you would like to set up a small monthly contribution instead, you can do that too using the ‘PayPal Donate’ button below. Thank you very much! The money we raise goes directly into R&D so that we can help more children faster and keep the costs as low as possible.
“We are really grateful for anything you can afford to give. If you can’t afford to make a donation but would still like to help then we’d love it if you could share our story on your social media and tell all your friends and family about us. Thank You!”
Ben and Sol
Founders of Ambionics