A graduate from Plymouth university has won the prestigious National UK James Dyson award with an invention that could be life-changing for amputees around the world.
Joel Gibbard, a 25-year-old robotics graduate, designed a 3D printed bionic hand that can be built in 40 hours at a fraction of the cost.
Every year, up to 6,000 amputations are carried out and most replacement artificial limbs are priced between £3,000 and £60,000. However, according to Dyson, Gibbard's robotic creation will only cost under £1,000.
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The hand is formed of four manufactured parts and once assembled, it works to give amputees individual finger movements by placing electromyographical sensors, which measures muscle activation, on the skin.
Gibbard, who is working with UK firm Open Bionics, to scale up the project said: We’ve encountered many challenges in designing our hands but the reactions of the individuals we help fuels our perseverance to bring them to market.
"My aim is for Open Bionics to disrupt the prosthetics industry by offering affordable prosthetics for all.”
He will now progress to the international stage of the competition and use his prize money of £2,000 to buy a new 3D printer.
"By using rapid prototyping techniques, Joel has initiated a step-change in the development of robotic limbs," James Dyson said in a statement.
"Embracing a streamlined approach to manufacturing allows Joel's design to be highly efficient, giving more amputees’ access to advanced prosthetics.”