Open Bionics of Bristol, U.K. is among 25 semifinalists for the Inclusive Technology Prize, which recognizes innovations that will make the United Kingdom more accessible to people with disabilities.
The 25 designers and entrepreneurs shortlisted for the prize were chosen from 200 pitches for a chance to win the British equivalent of an approximately $75,000 prize for a technology, product or service.
“We decided to enter the Inclusive Technology prize because we want to make a difference with our 3-D printed, robotic hands for amputees everywhere,” Joel Gibbard, Open Bionics CEO, stated in a press release. “We believe there is a huge need for affordable robotic prosthetics and we think we can help by using emerging technologies like 3-D scanning and 3-D printing to bring the cost down.”
He added, “We are not just focusing on the functionality of the device; we are focusing on making 3-D printed hands that amputees will enjoy wearing. We want them to be fashionable, inspiring for children and even have a few extra capabilities to one-up the human hand. We are constantly working with amputees to develop these desirable devices.”
The challenge is designed to encourage semi-finalists to innovate through co-creation with patients with disabilities and meeting needs as defined by the users. The 25 semi-finalists take part in the mentoring stage of the competition in March, April and May. Ten finalists will be selected to develop prototypes ready for impact testing throughout 2015 and the winner will be announced in March 2016.
Disclosure: Gibbard reports no relevant financial disclosures.