This week, we spoke with Caroline Coster, a quadruple amputee, about the resources available for new amputees. The first thing you need to know is there are a lot of new amputee resources available around the world and on a local level.

Caroline is just approaching her 12-month mark of being a quadruple amputee. If you haven’t read her story yet, see her Bionic Caroline page or visit her blog. Caroline’s energy can light up a room, and while she acknowledges the challenges of life as a new amputee, she remains positive and optimistic about this next chapter in her life. Some of the resources Caroline shared below are specifically for new arm amputees and focuses on community knowledge sharing, peer, and tool support.

Caroline has also provided some advice with each new amputee resources point, so you can decide if it’s right for you.  

Find a mentor who has already been through everything you’re about to go through.

Caroline points to Alex Lewis as someone who understands the level of adaptation you will need to go through on your journey. Talk to your mentors, find out their strategies, and what tools they have found most useful. 

As a new arm amputee, you’re on a journey of creativity when it comes to finding new ways of doing things.

Do you need to invent new tools to participate in old or new hobbies? Caroline recommends contacting Remap who can help you make new tools. 

Social media networks can be great for answering everyday questions. They are also great support networks.

Armless Amputees is a community Facebook group that Caroline recommends joining and actively participating in. If you’re a new arm amputee who is also a quad amputee, Caroline recommends the Facebook group Quad Squad for peer support. Steel Bones is another Facebook group that offers more organised community support. 

Charitable networks and associations can provide various levels of support depending on your needs.

Limbless Association is a group that organises events and can help you find what you’re looking for.

If you have lost your limbs to sepsis, an invaluable organisation is the UK Sepsis Trust. This group can provide nurses that call you for check-ins weekly and monthly. It’s a safe space that can help you through all aspects of your life after surviving Sepsis.

Skills For Life is an incredible organisation that can support you through workshops, learning new skills, and new ways of completing tasks. 

Ask your NHS clinician for introductions to groups that can support adapting your home and work environment: Environmental Control Group and IT support have been invaluable for Caroline. 

Get creative yourself! Caroline has enjoyed the process of hacking ‘around-the-house’ objects into activity-specific tools that make her life easier. If you’re struggling with a task, think about what you need to make the task easier. When Caroline struggled with washing her hair, she bought a battery-powered head scrubber and melted it onto one of her arm prostheses. Now hair washing is a lot easier!

Another top tip from Caroline for new arm amputees is to make the most of the resources by sharing your milestones and achievements with your chosen groups. Your communities will understand better than anyone the sense of achievement and will celebrate your wins with you, no matter how big or small. 

If you’re a new arm amputee, Caroline has offered to be available to give guidance and support. You can contact her here. Thank you Caroline! 

Would you like to recommend other resources for new arm amputees? Please email us your suggestions through our contact page.  

Venom Snake Hero Arm

Talk to us if you're ready to explore prostheses options

We’re a bionics company developing affordable assistive devices that enhance the human body. We’ve started by introducing the Hero Arm, a clinically approved 3D printed stylish multi-grip bionic hand. Current upper limb prostheses exist as hooks, grippers, or expensive bionic hands. We’re on a mission to make clinically approved 3D prosthetics beautiful, functional and more accessible.

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Earlier this year, we fitted Tanisha with a Hero Arm, and while she loved the look and feel of her new bionic arm, she wasted no time putting it to good use.

Here is what happened at her Hero Arm delivery appointment. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Tanisha and I was born without a right arm. I haven’t really noticed a difference growing up, as most things I can get around doing with one hand. Having a limb difference has never stopped me, I like to go with the flow and try everything – I’ve even tried doing handstands in the past.

What was it like opening the box and seeing your Hero Arm for the first time?

I was super happy. And I’m really excited to take it home and use it. It’s one of the coolest designs I’ve seen.

How is the Hero Arm different to other prosthetic arms?

It doesn’t look like any other prosthetic arm I’ve seen – I love that it’s not trying to look like a real arm. You can clearly see how it works and the difference each part makes to the function of the arm. I’ve worn prosthetic arms before and they can be quite restrictive – you have to really physically move to get the prosthesis to create a movement. With the Hero Arm, there are more options: you can rotate the wrist and have more grip options. Even with the extra functionality, the Hero Arm is lightweight and comfortable, which is the biggest difference, I think. 

Watch Tanisha Get Her Hero Arm
Why did you opt for the Hero Arm?

I love trying new things, and being able to do dual-hand activities has always appealed to me. Usually I have my sleeve covering my limb difference, but with the Hero Arm, I definitely feel more confident wearing it and I know I won’t want to cover it. 

Is there anything you are looking forward to trying with the Hero Arm?

I’m so excited to try everything! From little things like picking up my bag to drawing, and even taking selfies! 

bionic limbs the next prosthetic hook revolution

Register for a Hero Arm

The Hero Arm uses myoelectric sensors which detect underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in the arm. These are then amplified and converted into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements.

Register For A Hero Arm

The earliest known examples of a human prosthesis found to date is two artificial toes dating back to Ancient Egypt (before 600BC). Since then, archeologists have found a wealth of historical prostheses, ranging from the famous Roman Capula Leg to Gotz von Berlichingen’s Iron arm. The archeological evidence shows that prosthetic limbs have been designed and used continuously across the 6000 years of recorded history. The most iconic prosthesis of them all to my own mind, is the prosthetic hook. Featured in movie classics like Captain Hook, the prosthetic hook was a revolutionary prosthesis. But in the 109 years since its invention, how far has the industry developed and what are the options for the limb difference community today?

Technological advancements in upper limb prostheses 

The split-hook design, first patented by David W. Dorrance in 1912, the hook enabled amputees to hold and squeeze objects between the split hooks (Bowers). Coupled with the invention of the Bowden cable, this gave rise to body-powered prostheses. A body-powered prosthesis allowed the user to operate the terminal device – in this case a two-pronged hook – mechanically and independently, by changing the tension in a cable via shoulder and body movements (Zuo and Olson, 2014). The prosthetic hook is still an option offered to this day and continues to offer those with limb differences robust and relatively affordable, body-powered functions. Rapid advances in technology and robotics however, have drastically increased the functionality options available in modern prostheses options. 

Here at Open Bionics, we use modern technology to develop clinically approved medical devices. Our first product is the life-changing Hero Arm, which uses myoelectric sensors to detect underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in the residual limb. These are then amplified and converted into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements, a far cry from the simple pulley systems of the original prosthetic hook. This system allows the user to control grip strength and finger movement to complete everyday tasks independently. 

Myoelectrics allows the user to control the prosthesis without using their remaining limb, making the completion of tasks requiring two hands infinitely easier. Progress in robotics, programming and the miniaturisation of technology allows for more data to be stored in a smaller space. The Hero Arm, for example, has a number of preset hand movements built in and can swap seamlessly between them. Depending on the task at hand (pun intended) the user wants to complete, the functionality of the Hero Arm can be tailored to individual tasks by choosing the right grip type for the job. Instead of having one tool for the job and working around it like the hook, modern prosthetic arms offer a number of different tools and functions to help support the user in their activity. 

The Hero Arm represents a paradigm shift away from purely functional prosthetic design. Whereas the design of the prosthetic hook is solely dominated by the function it needs to carry out, the Hero Arm gives the user control of not only its vastly superior functionality, but the way it looks and how it makes people feel.

Technology and manufacturing techniques have also come a long way since the beginning of the 20th century. 3D printing plays a large role in the look and feel of modern prostheses options. Here at Open Bionics, we use 3D printing to print parts of the Hero Arm. It makes the bionic arm more lightweight than the prosthetic hook, and let’s be honest, it looks super cool! 

Another important factor – 3D printing techniques make prosthetic limbs like the Hero Arm much more financially accessible due to the lower production costs and parts can easily be replicated to create much more customisable options for a prosthesis.

It’s not only about the prosthesis itself, 3D scanning has been a major part of making the process of getting a prosthesis you want quicker and more repeatable. 3D scanning means that prosthetists can quickly create accurate computer models of the user’s residual limb and design the prosthesis to fit perfectly. Generally, the user’s residual limb interfaces with a socket. The socket is what keeps the prosthetic limb on the arm and in the case of myoelectric prosthesis, it’s where the muscle signals are read. At Open Bionics, we have developed 3D printable sockets successfully combining 3D printing and scanning to reduce the fitting time, manufacturing time and overall costs for our users. The result of this is that users as young as eight years old have been able to access viable prosthetic limbs.  

Aesthetics have come a long way from the prosthetic hook 

Previous prostheses, the hook included, have been predominantly designed with ‘function over form’ in mind. This is completely understandable of course, the main priority of any prosthesis is to perform as intended, rather than to look good. The hook, for example, does not replicate the aesthetics of the human hand, but has been designed to fit its particular purpose, i.e., picking up objects. But considering the technological advancements discussed previously, there is more and more scope for taking into account the ‘form’ of a modern prosthesis.  

I have described how myoelectrics replicates the movement of human limbs through electrical signals from the user’s muscles. What this also means is that the terminal device of a prosthesis can look and move like the limb it replaces. This helps modern prosthesis feel and move like a normal limb, but why does it need to look like one? Some prosthetics companies choose to use muted skin tones to try and hide the prosthetic limb away, but at Open Bionics, we’ve taken a different approach. We embrace differences. The Hero Arm is designed to stand out. Using 3D printed technology, we can print interchangeable covers in a variety of amazing colours and textures and even ones designed to replicate your favourite film and video game characters. This gives the user control of their prosthesis – they can make it look however they want and show off their personality through the colour combinations and designs. 

The Hero Arm represents a paradigm shift away from purely functional prosthesis design. Whereas the design of the prosthetic hook is solely dominated by the function it needs to carry out, the Hero Arm gives the user control of not only its vastly superior functionality, but the way it looks and how it makes people feel. What modern prostheses have done is allow the user to fit in, but what the Hero Arm does is help them to stand out. From what I have seen at Open Bionics, people are embracing this change of perspective. 

Improved function and a change of perspective is where we’re going

My job at Open Bionics is to build ‘Special Covers’ (this is what we call the Iron Man, BB8, R2-D2, Frozen, DesuDeus Ex, Metal Gear Solid and Handala covers). In this role, I see first-hand how important bionic prostheses can be. When I meet our users, it is always amazing to see their enthusiasm for these covers and for how much choice the Hero Arm gives them. From the conversations I have had with our Bionic Squad, and the amazing videos I’ve seen of satisfied customers using their new bionic arms, it seems to me like there is a change of perspective when it comes to the prosthetics industry. In my opinion, this change is that people no longer see prosthetic arms as merely tools, they see them as extensions of their personalities and a way to celebrate their differences. 

Looking back at the historical records of prostheses, it’s clear that they have, and continue, to play a major role in changing lives. The prosthetic hook has been a key player in this, giving users the ability to complete everyday tasks and using the concept of a body-powered limb to increase functionality and give users independence. These tools were perfect for the job, and still have an important role to play, but with the technological advancements, the limb difference community can now have more options. Daniel Melville, one of our Bionic Squad members said it best: 

“When I wear the Hero Arm I feel damn awesome because peoples eyes light up when they see the arm and they come over to talk to me, to ask me how cool it looks and about how it works, which of course I oblige with a great big smile on my face.”

A prosthesis is no longer just a tool, it’s a conversation starter, a fashion statement, a way to express yourself, and yes a fully functioning arm. In every way the prosthetics industry has come a long way from the prosthetic hook, and everyone here at Open Bionics is excited to go even further. 

Author – Christian Leggatt, Production Technician at Open Bionics

Here at Open Bionics, we work with people from all around the world and all walks of life. Our Hero Arm enhances the human body and allows individuals to reach their goals. One thing we constantly get asked is the financial assistance for amputees there is available to cover medical devices and rehabilitation costs.

Our Customer Success Manager, Sarah Lockey, works with people daily to help them reach their goals of getting a Hero Arm. Mum to Tilly Lockey, who lost both of her hands to meningitis when she was 15 months old, Sarah has dedicated her life to trying to fund Tilly’s prostheses. When Sarah first started researching for financial assistance for amputees, there was minimal support available. From fundraising to applying to charitable trusts trialling technology for prosthetic companies, and putting Tilly forward as an exceptional case for support for the NHS. You name a funding route, she has tried it. This is why Sarah’s job is funding support at Open Bionics and this is what she had to say about ways arm amputees can secure the funding they need.

I hear all the time ‘you have to be rich to be disabled’ and I can totally understand why. Adaptations to homes and choosing to wear a decent prosthesis can be very expensive for an arm amputee, especially if it’s costs you haven’t envisaged on incurring.

Here at Open Bionics, we are on a mission to make devices that enhance the human body as accessible as possible and we don’t want people to feel too daunted by the process. If you can’t self-fund for your Hero Arm, crowdfunding does seem to be the most popular second option, so to give some financial assistance for amputees, we created a free service which, upon application, can support you in taking those first steps to starting your bionic journey. If you want to find out more about how we help people fund for their Hero Arm, see our partnership with the Open Bionics Foundation.

How to successfully crowdfund for a Hero Arm

People often think they just have to set up a GoFundMe page and then that should be all that they need to do to secure the funds needed for a Hero Arm. There is so much more to crowdfunding than just creating a campaign page. You have to proactively run the campaign once it’s launched.

Remember, the word FUN is in FUNdraising and you don’t have to do it alone.

Crowdfunding is all about making a special ask for support and keeping everything personal and authentic to let people get to know the real you. After all, we hope that your network will share your campaign far and wide and we want to help you make your campaign strong, so even a stranger wants to donate.  As part of our free crowdfunding support service we offer to make a short video with you that shares your story and why you are crowdfunding so that you can share not only on your crowdfunding page but on all of your social media platforms, to local businesses, charitable trusts, local press and EVERYWHERE you can think of to get your campaign out there. 

The key to crowdfunding success is:

If you choose a strong team of people with different talents who will support you on this campaign, it won’t feel like you are doing it all on your own.

In your team, break down your target into manageable chunks. Set deadlines and plan how together you will bring in the funds needed. Doing things together can be so much fun. Remember, the word FUN is in FUNdraising and you don’t have to do it alone.

We will be with you every step of the way as a cheerleader for your team. We will celebrate your successes and try to help you come up with ideas and a plan to get you over any bumps in the road. Your local press loves a good story of a community pulling together to help someone out. We can help you create a press release, contact local media and see if they can run your story and push your campaign further.  

Crowdfunding is all about teamwork, appreciating your network and showing your gratitude. If you make people feel valued and important, they will want to do more for you. So if you would like to take those first steps in crowdfunding for your Hero Arm, contact us today and we will support you on your road to becoming bionic.

Other funding sources to try

If you are not ready to commit to a crowdfunding campaign, there are other ways to secure funds needed to cover costs of a Hero Arm. We work with a lot of charitable trusts and private organisations who fundraise and donate fees to cover costs of a Hero Arm. If you would like to apply for a grant to cover costs for a Hero Arm, please register and we will be happy to share full application details.

If you are based in the US, we know insurance will sometimes cover costs of a Hero Arm, but it might require a few application attempts to highlight how essential a multi-grip prosthesis is. Richard Slusher recently highlighted his experience of trying to acquire a Hero Arm through insurance, which gives really good insight into the industry.

Author – Sarah Lockey, Customer Success Manager at Open Bionics

bionic limbs the next prosthetic hook revolution

Register for a Hero Arm

The Hero Arm uses myoelectric sensors which detect underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in the arm. These are then amplified and converted into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements.

 

Register For A Hero Arm

Earlier this year, Beverley was fitted with a Hero Arm. We invited her back to share what day-to-day is like using the Hero Arm and what features she would like to see in the future.

Beverley lives in the UK and has a partner and two children. She has a huge passion working for charities and is a Programme Manager for the Heritage Trust Network, where she spends a lot of time working with groups of people, delivering training sessions and webinars.

Watch full interview with Bev

Bev loves Roller Derby, as well as being a member of the committee for Team GB. Bev’s daughter is a personal trainer and has been whipping her into shape for when COVID-19 restrictions ease so she can get back on the Roller Derby tracks.

What was it like coming to Open Bionics?

It’s been the most positive experience, I just cannot describe it really in adequate words. I don’t think I’ve ever really had any positive experiences at limb difference centres at NHS and I think Open Bionics and the whole team have just completely changed that. It’s fascinating to see the process and to meet some of the people who make the Hero Arm it’s just brilliant.

I don’t think there’s anything I would change about the Hero Arm, it’s perfect for me. I’ve taken to it like a duck to water.

How did you find out about Open Bionics?

I remember it must have been about five years ago, I saw a video clip on facebook when Open Bionics just started, and I remember being completely in awe of what these arms could do and how they looked and the whole ethos of the company. I just remember thinking one day I’m going to have one of those bionic arms! I followed the company for a while until I got to a point of where I was in pain and not happy with my old cosmetic prosthesis and needed a change.

How has the Hero Arm made a difference?

The Hero Arm has had a huge impact on my body confidence. With my cosmetic arm, I would get the look from people when they catch a glimpse, they would usually think ‘Is there something slightly strange about that hand?’ With the Hero Arm, there’s no mistake it’s a prosthetic arm, and one I’m really proud to wear and show off. Also, it has been great for opening conversations, so rather than people saying ‘Oh, I’m so sorry what happened to you?’ Now I get ‘Wow I want one of those!’.

What would you change about the Hero Arm?

I don’t think there’s anything that I would change about the Hero Arm, it’s perfect for me. I’ve taken to it like a duck to water and I know that it’s slightly different for me because I couldn’t get one of the muscles to work (the one that opens the hand) but I really appreciate the little tweak the Open Bionics team have done which is probably so simple but it means the world to me to know that I can do it in that way.

Have you tried doing new things with the Hero Arm?

We have Cassandra nights on Wednesday nights, but I never win, but the big thing about being able to hold cards is unbelievable and it’s something I wouldn’t have thought of but now being able to hold those cards has made such a difference. It’s just a much more enjoyable experience and it’s such a little thing, but it makes a huge difference.

woman prosthetic hand
You mentioned you play Roller Derby? What is that?

Oh, how do you describe it, it’s a bit like rugby. It’s a full-contact sport, it’s played on an oval track and you’ve got two teams and a person is the ball, so there’s no actual ball in roller derby. One person is called the jammer, who you have to help through the pack and round the track while the opposing team is trying to knock them down or knock them off the track. It’s a really empowering sport because you’ve got people of all shapes and sizes, genders and abilities playing together. It’s so full-on, it just makes you feel like you’re a superhero on the track.

Do you have any questions for us?

There’s nothing I wanted to ask, but i just wanted to say a massive thank you to everybody – I mean, I hope that you can see how positively everything that you do has affected me and I’m only one person. I really appreciate it’s such a fantastic experience, thank you for having me!

If you want to find out more about Bionic Bev, listen to her recent interview with Stacey Dooley on BBC Sounds.

Register for a Hero Arm

The Hero Arm uses myoelectric sensors which detect underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in the arm. These are then amplified and converted into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements.

 

Register For A Hero Arm

Will a 3D printed prosthesis fit me? Can a myoelectric prosthetic arm work on my residual limb? How much does a bionic arm cost? These are just some of the frequently asked questions we receive regularly from the limb difference community looking to explore cutting edge 3D printed prostheses options.

Our Hero Arm is custom-fit which means answers to these and other questions can be different depending on each limb difference. To help answer some of these questions, we are introducing a Hero Arm Trial Day. We want this day to be an informal and fun way for adults and children to see how we make bionic devices that enhance the human body. 

Here’s a snapshot of what our first Hero Arm Trial Day of 2021 looked like and what you can expect at the next one. 

The event kicked off at our HQ in Bristol, UK where attendees were greeted with refreshments and team introductions. After a chance to meet and share personal experiences about various prostheses, the group were shown a demo of the Hero Arm by our customer liaison manager and Hero Arm power user, Liz. 

I had an amazing day today at Open Bionics. Everyone was so friendly and I got to try out a Hero Arm. It was great to meet Liz after talking to her on the phone. – Jane Stokes

During the day guests had a tour of our headquarters where the Hero Arm is made, were able to speak with the engineers behind the myoelectric prosthetic arm and view a selection of magnetic arm covers that allow the Hero Arm to be personalised. 

After a refreshment break guests were able to book private appointments to discuss financing options and try our Hero Arm trial kits that work by detecting underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in the arm. These small contractions are then amplified and converted into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements.

“With the Hero Arm Trial Day we want to give people an opportunity to experience the Hero Arm in a relaxed setting where they can ask our team questions and meet members of our community. We hope by the end of the day individuals have the knowledge they need to take the next step in their bionic journey. ” – Samantha Payne MBE, CEO Open Bionics.

If you’d like to find out more information about the Hero Arm, how it works, what it feels like and whether it will be the right fit for you, register your interest and we will be in touch with information about the process and availability for our next Hero Arm Trial Day. 

bionic limbs the next prosthetic hook revolution

Register to try the Hero Arm

The Hero Arm uses myoelectric sensors which detect underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in the arm. These are then amplified and converted into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements.

Register For A Hero Arm

With so much noise around 3D printing prosthetics, it can sometimes be confusing for people to understand the benefits of this technology and how it applies to upper limb prosthesis devices. At Open Bionics, we’re perhaps the most experienced provider of 3D printed prosthetic devices and have kept up to date with the 3D printing industry as it has grown and expanded. Let’s explore this innovative technology to better understand why people are so excited about it. 

3D printing is another word for “additive manufacturing”. It’s a manufacturing technique that uses material to build up a part. There are many different ways to make parts, ranging from artisan, handmade processes all the way up to highly industrialised and automated processes. 3D printing in upper limb prosthesis bridges the gap between handmade techniques and industrial processes. This results in a high level of design freedom, with the repeatability and procession of an industrialised process.

At Open Bionics, we’ve used 3D printing to push the boundaries of upper limb prosthetic solutions while adhering to important prosthetic design principles and industry regulations.

For upper limb prosthetics, this means several major benefits:

Freedom of design

At Open Bionics, we’ve used 3D printing to push the boundaries of upper limb prosthetic solutions while adhering to important prosthetic design principles and industry regulations. We’ve been able to build in new features like the ventilation and adjustability of our socket interface , shown below. This shape would be extremely difficult to make by hand, but with a 3D printer, it’s no more difficult than making a standard socket of a fixed thickness. With the intricate design of the frames of the Hero Arm, we’ve managed to reduce the weight of a bionic arm by 30-50%.

Repeatability

Having a repeatable process means that once the design has been done, we can make more parts from the same design files. This means Hero Arm users can buy several different cover designs to personalise their prosthesis. Our Hero Arm covers have been accurately designed to fit each user’s prosthesis using retaining magnets. This allows for users to transform the look of their Hero Arm by simply clicking on a new set of covers.

Distribution of new innovations

At Open Bionics, we’re always looking for new ways to improve upper limb prosthesis. For the Hero Arm we introduce product improvements around 2-3 times per year. In 2019, we reduced the size of the battery enclosure by 8mm, last year we introduced magnetic covers to make it easier to change cover designs, and this year we switched to a more robust and water resistant 3D printing process.

With traditional manufacturing methods, each of these changes would have required educating and training hundreds of clinicians and technicians, making sure they all had access to the correct equipment and supply chain, and encouraging them to consider the changes instead of continuing to use the process they’re more familiar with. With centralised 3D printing fabrication, everyone gets the benefits immediately when they’re released, resulting in much faster adoption of technology.

Even though we are using 3D printers every day to make our products, we are still constantly learning new things and coming up with new ideas for how to use 3D printing to make the best prosthetic products we possibly can, so we’re super excited to support the prosthetic industry in its adoption of additive manufacturing techniques and the enhancements this technology will offer to people and their upper limb prostheses.

Author – Joel Gibbard, CEO and Co-founder at Open Bionics

Find out more about the Hero Arm

The Hero Arm uses myoelectric sensors which detect underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in the arm. These are then amplified and converted into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements.

If you’re interested in trying the Hero Arm, register your details and we’ll contact you for an informal chat about how we can help you begin your bionic journey.

 

Register For A Hero Arm

This month, Daniel Cant, a priest-in-training from Colchester has become one of the first individuals in priesthood to be fitted with a multi-grip bionic prosthetic arm. 

The 42-year-old lost his arm during a tragic car accident that left him fighting for life. During a seven-month intense rehabilitation period Daniel relearnt how to walk, but noticed how restrictive everyday activities were living with one arm. 

Daniel now lives with his wife and two children and has been training to become a priest for the past year. Daniel said faith played a critical role in his recovery and only found the company Open Bionics who built his new artificial arm after his 6-year-old son continuously prayed and eventually googled for a ‘Hero Arm’ for his Hero Dad.

I’ve missed so many small everyday things, like a full embrace, or putting both hands together for prayer – Daniel Cant

When talking about his priesthood training at Christ Church Parish in Colchester, Daniel said: “In my daily role I have to hold lots of things, but this can be quite cumbersome when standing behind a lectern trying to talk to people. Because the arm is lightweight and so beautifully designed, it will be intrinsic to my role as a priest when I am ordained later this year”. 

After his Hero Arm fitting consultation with an Upper Limb Prosthetist at Open Bionics, within a few hours Daniel transitioned from living with no right arm for over a decade, to being able to throw a ball and write his name. Daniel reflected on what it was like to regain functionality in both arms “I’ve missed so many small everyday things, like a full embrace, or putting both hands together for prayer. The first thing I will do when I get home is give my family a bear-size hug, with both hands, because my children have never experienced that before.” 

“The Hero Arm is going to give me a great sense of confidence to challenge the stigmas that still surround disability. I’m looking forward to also raising awareness in my sector about the barriers the limb difference community still face everyday.”

After a successful funding campaign with the support of The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London, Daniel was fitted with a Hero Arm built custom to his shape and matching his individual prosthetic requirements and design preferences. Unlike Daniel’s previous prostheses, which were heavy and very limited in functionality, Daniel’s Hero Arm uses myoelectric sensors which detect underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in his arm. These are then amplified and converted to intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements.

Watch Daniel share his story on Sky News

Samantha Payne MBE, Co-founder of Open Bionics commented on Daniel’s experience: “We’re thrilled to support Daniel on his bionic journey. It can be frustrating as an amputee when your job requires you to hold items in two hands at the same time and we hope Daniel’s Hero Arm makes the practice into priesthood smoother. We helped Daniel find funding for his new bionic arm and we’re grateful to The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London for their support. If you need help finding funding for your Hero Arm, please get in touch!”

Open Bionics is on a mission to support individuals like Daniel to turn their disabilities into superpowers by using innovative technologies such as 3D printing and 3D scanning to ensure each bionic prosthetic arm is custom-built and bespoke to the user. 

Below elbow limb amputees interested in getting a Hero Arm can register interest below where our team will determine eligibility with an initial introduction call.  

Hanger Hero Arm

Find out more about our Hanger : Hero Arm partnership

We are proud to be working with a prestigious clinic to offer the Hero Arm in over 800 locations across the USA.

Read more about our partnership

The co-founders of Open Bionics, Joel Gibbard and Samantha Payne, have each been awarded an MBE for their work democratising prosthetic technology for amputees all around the world. The news comes just days after the company released a new version of their product, the Hero Arm, which is the world’s most affordable multi-grip bionic arm for below-elbow amputees and people living with below-elbow limb differences.

Joel and Samantha co-founded Open Bionics in 2014, with the goal of developing affordable, assistive devices that enhance the human body. In other words, Open Bionics turns disabilities into superpowers. The Bristol-based bionics company is known globally for using clinically approved 3D printing and 3D scanning, along with clever software and design, to make advanced, affordable and accessible bionic limbs, starting with the Hero Arm, which first launched in 2018. This week Open Bionics launched the latest version of its Hero Arm, bringing greater reliability, comfort and quality to their flagship product, with upgrades that include robust laser-sintered frames, innovative socket technology, and new magnetic covers. 

I’m grateful to be in a position where I believe in the work and I’m passionate about changing the industry and empowering patients. – Samantha Payne

Samantha Payne, COO and Co-founder of Open Bionics, said: “I was surprised to receive the nomination. It feels really wonderful to have your work recognised and acknowledged nationally. I’m grateful to be in a position where I believe in the work and I’m passionate about changing the industry and empowering patients. Great companies are built by great teams, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to reflect on how far we have come. I work with some truly talented, creative, motivated and supportive people within Open Bionics and within the limb different community. A huge thanks to those who have consistently gone above and beyond throughout the journey to build the dream, whatever it takes.”

Joel Gibbard, CEO and Co-founder of Open Bionics, said: “This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Open Bionics team, who have worked tirelessly to make prosthetic technology more accessible, useful and empowering for the limb-different community. I’m personally honoured to have been able to lead such a talented team of people, and to have them share my passion for democratising and advancing technology.”

In 2019, Samantha and Joel raised a £4.6m investment to serve multiple international markets and deliver their prosthetic technology to amputees and people with limb differences in the USA. The Hero Arm is now available in the UK, Europe and the USA. This is only the start for the young company with Samantha and Joel having ambitions to launch multiple products that have social impact at an affordable price. 

When Samantha and Joel started Open Bionics it was widely proclaimed that 3D printing would not be good enough for use in healthcare and 3D printing prosthetics to lower the clinical costs for amputees was a moonshot. They were told consistently by experts that it could not be done. They persevered and worked incredibly closely with the limb different community to bring the innovation to life. Open Bionics has won over 20 awards for business innovation, engineering excellence, and design to date.

bionic limbs the next prosthetic hook revolution

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The Hero Arm uses myoelectric sensors which detect underlying muscular contractions generated from specific muscle groups in the arm. These are then amplified and converted into intuitive and proportional bionic hand movements.

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Mark Hamill has tweeted a special message to an 11-year-old Star Wars superfan, after Open Bionics shared a viral video of the youngster receiving Star Wars BB-8 covers for his bionic Hero Arm. 

11-year-old Cameron Miller from Edinburgh is the first person in the world to receive the Star Wars covers, which are now available for all Hero Arm users.

Mark Hamill tweeted: “Congratulations to you for @OpenBionics getting you that really, really cool bionic Hero Arm, Cameron. They say you are a big #StarWars fan and I just wanted you to know that I am a BIG fan of yours & watching this video made me super, super happy!”

In the video, Cameron said: “The best thing about my Hero Arm is how it responds to the muscle movements in my arm. I like the details of the covers, how it moves, and the light! I really like my new Star Wars covers because they’re really, really cool, and I love the detailing on it, and when I seen them I was really super super happy.” 

Each Hero Arm is custom-built using innovative technologies such as 3D printing and 3D scanning, and for the first time ever is available for children with upper limb differences as young as eight year old. The company fit adults too, and will be launching the Hero Arm in the USA next month. 

Last November, Hamill worked with Open Bionics to record a special message to all kids with limb differences. “Remember: Luke lost his hand to Vader, but that didn’t stop him from defeating the Empire. So have courage, be determined, and always remember that your limb difference is your very own superpower. And may the Force be with you all.”