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Awesome Prosthetics Make Kids Feel Like Superheroes

What an utterly brilliant idea.

All kids dream of being a superhero (quite a few adults too) and a new startup is hoping to make it a reality for children who need prosthetics.

Backed by Disney's Techstars Accelerator programme, the UK company Open Bionics is currently developing low-cost, 3D-printed prosthetics themed around Disney, Star Wars and Marvel franchises. Normally the devices are very expensive to manufacture, with many of the world's estimated two million amputees not lucky enough to have one.

Disney has backed the development to the tune of $120,000 as well as exempting all royalties. The limbs will be controlled by muscle impulses, and utilise haptic feedback to tell the user the strength of the grip that the prosthetic is exerting.

CEO Joel Gibbard commented, "All of a sudden they’re not being asked how they lost their hand, they’re being asked where they got their cool robot hand, how does it feel, and how does it work?"

The website adds: "Now kids can get excited about their prosthetics. They won’t have to do boring physical therapy, they’ll train to become heroes. They’re not just getting medical devices, they’re getting bionic hands inspired by their favourite characters."

At the moment there are three models: Iron Man ("hot out of Tony Stark's workshop"), a lightsaber-influenced Star Wars one and a Frozen-style Snowflake hand. However, other models are also on the way, with the whole range expected to be released at the end of next year for around $500 each (£323).

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