3D printed hand wins award

Issue date: 11 December 2014

For all the latest information from Open Bionics, visit: www.openbionics.com or follow them on Twitter@openbionics.

Open Bionics founder Joel Gibbard has won a prosthetic innovation award from The Limbless Association for his work developing 3D printed robotic hands for amputees.

Working alongside Sammy Payne, his company Open Bionics, is based in the Technology Business Incubator at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL). Their focus is on helping the estimated 11.4 million hand amputees worldwide, through the production of low cost prosthetic limbs using rapid prototyping technology.

The Limbless Association Prosthetic and Orthotics Awards recognise and reward outstanding contributions and achievements in the limb-loss and healthcare communities.

Joel was in a tightly fought category with Lee Duffy who is innovating prosthetic sockets by using natural plant fibre.

Awards judge and presenter Deborah Johnson, from sponsors Slater & Gordon, said the ceremony was an absolute pleasure and she was glad to see Joel pick up a prize.

Deborah said, “I had a very difficult job selecting a winner from the top class nominees but was delighted to be able to present the award for product innovation to Joel Gibbard of Open Bionics for his incredible work on 3D printed robotic prosthetic hands.”

Stuart Holt, Limbless Association trustee, said he was happy to see Joel win and urged him to continue developing the 3D printed robotic hands.

The awards ceremony celebrated inspirational amputees, prosthetics, user groups, and innovators.

Joel said, “We've come a long way since we met the Limbless Association over a year ago. We've achieved a huge amount of innovation in the prosthetics sector since. This award is a magnificent validation of the work we've achieved so far and it inspires us to keep pushing forward. It feels great to be recognised and supported by the amputee community, they're driving this technology innovation as much as we are.”

Open Bionics' recent successes include: second place in the global competition, Intel's Make it Wearable Challenge; Joel Gibbard named Young Design Engineer of the Year and Founder of the Year at the SPARKies.

Jill Burnett, Innovation Manager at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory's Technology Business Incubator, said, “Joel has great talent and has worked diligently to reach this point - this award is very well deserved. He's a valued member of our Technology Incubator, working with a friendly and proactive group of young tech businesses and benefitting from wider opportunities generated by our high-profile and multi-disciplinary research activities. Joel's wearable technology is part of a wider story about the huge potential of robotics to assist and improve the lives of citizens. This is a priority area for the BRL, which works closely with partners and businesses across Technology and Healthcare to realise and accelerate these benefits for society and the economy.”

The Technology Business Incubator is a visionary pilot program to stimulate and support technology start-ups. Working with undergraduate, graduate, post-graduates, staff and partner spinout businesses the incubator provides the BRL with up-to-date and detailed understanding of technology start-up needs and enhances the BRL's creative and entrepreneurial culture. It provides valuable input to courses, research and research exploitation.

For all the latest information from Open Bionics, visit: www.openbionics.com or follow them on Twitter@openbionics.

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