Amputation and disability don’t just cause a lack of faculty for the sufferer, they create a sense of despair for many that is paired with a low self esteem. For children who go through this, the effects are maximized and long lasting. Colombian designer Carlos Torres made it a purpose to be creative towards a cause. The IKO Creative Prosthetic System is his initiative to help amputated kids create a sense of self sufficiency while they get a prosthetic limb to go with it.
Where he comes from, many have lost limbs to the war strewn lands filled with landmines. Torres believed that the addition of a little playtime to the practicality of artificial limbs can benefit the little ones ten folds to get accustomed to the loss. The designer has enlisted every child’s favorite building block and the prosthetic can give way to laser-shooting spaceships whenever the opportunity arises.
The prosthetic limb houses a battery, processor unit charging port, and a pair of myoelectric sensors that can track movement of the amputee’s stump, and convert it into a signal to create play through attachable lego accessories. A muscle component receives these signals. This separate component features a motor and Lego connectors that carry attachments for the limb, both fun and practical.
Torres conducted detailed research and interviewed orthopedic technicians, clinical psychologists and occupational therapists at Columbia to arrive at the final design for IKO Prosthetic System. His results showed that a patient’s social circle affects their self-esteem development With the Lego Future Lab in Denmark, which is the toy company’s research and development lab, Torres designed a Lego prosthetic that kids can build with their families.
“During my time working in Lego Future lab I realized that you can pretty much can build anything you want with Lego,” he says. “But the key feature of the system for me, is that Lego sets are something you can build with friends and your family. Something that is that social made me think of one of the biggest challenge kids in disability have when facing society.”
The design was tested in Bogota, on an eight-year-old Colombian boy named Dario who had lost his right arm to a congenital malformation. One of his lego accessories designs is a a spaceship fitted with a laser-imitating light brick., another a construction backhoe that works with the power function compatible with the muscle module.
The test results are beyond Torres’s expectations, and he is set to develop a commercial product in the coming months, to be available somewhere in the beginning of 2017.