Lego prosthetic arm for children wins award at Paris show

By Chris Baraniuk
Technology reporter

image copyrightCarlos Arturo Torres
image captionThe IKO Creative Prosthetic System allows for all kinds of Lego-based attachments

A prosthetic arm that allows children to design their own Lego accessories has won an innovation award in Paris.

The IKO Creative Prosthetic System won the Grand Prix award at digital technology summit Netexplo.

Lego attachments, including a remote-control digger, fit on to the battery-powered arm and 3D-printed socket.

Creator Carlos Arturo Torres, a former intern at Lego's Future Lab research department, hopes to secure investment for its development this year.

He told the BBC: "I'm super happy with it.

"I wasn't expecting the Grand Prix.

"As a Colombian, you grow up with the arms conflict and we are so aware of people losing limbs or having difficulties because of war."

Mr Torres hopes children will work together to design their own attachments.

"When I was at Lego, I realised how social toys can be," he said.

image copyrightCarlos Arturo Torres
image captionMr Torres worked as an intern for a research division at Lego before creating the IKO prosthetic

Mr Torres estimates the prosthetic will sell for $5,000 (£3,500) with a fee of $1,000 for each 3D-printed sockets, bought as the wearer grows out of the old ones.

Jo Dixon, national co-ordinator at Children's charity Reach, said using cheaper materials in the construction of prosthetics made them "far more affordable" for children and easier to maintain.

"The popularity of the new, simple 3D versions, including a build-your-own Lego kit, with their robotic appearance and bespoke colours means that they can help to increase self-confidence," she told the BBC.

"[This can] help with the acceptance of difference rather than being a functional replacement hand."

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