This is Iko, the prosthetic arm that puts the ‘fun’ in functional. The artificial limb for kids has been designed to be compatible with the favourite toy of children and adults alike, LEGO, making it endlessly customisable.
Prosthetics have come a long way in the past few years, especially since the advent of 3D printing, which allow manufacturing to be not only cheap but has opened up the scope of potential designs and innovations.
Chicago-based Colombian designer Carlos Arturo Torres developed Iko during a six-month internship at LEGO, where he was exposed to the true extent of how that humble brick is able to foster social connections. “My friends in psychology used to tell me that when a kid has a disability, he is not really aware of it until he faces society,” Torres said. “That’s when they have a super rough encounter.” That’s why he chose LEGO to help kids with missing limbs build bridges and improve their self-esteem.
Torres returned to his home country to visit patients at Cirec, a rehabilitation clinic for kids with prosthetics. He met Dario, an 8-year-old boy who was left without a right forearm due to a congenital condition. “He was talking about the robot’s different features and pointed to a bionic eye,” Torres says of Dario. “He said the robot built it himself because he was the only one who knew what he needed. And that was like, boom.”
Iko is laced with LEGO-compatible studs, allowing the wearer to add LEGO bricks, parts, and minifigures to their hearts’ content. Though it is still in its prototype stage, Torres hopes the transformational power of LEGO will help change the lives of disadvantaged children in a way that a conventional prosthetic cannot. A friend of Dario, who had previously expressed pity over his condition, saw his playmate enjoying his Iko. “He said, ‘I want one of those,’” Torres beamed.
Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.