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.
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.