Carlos Torres is a Colombian designer and has come up with a way of tackling the low self-esteem along with social isolation that usually follows child amputees. His IKO Creative Prosthetic System works to allow child amputees to fully express their creative side. He has made use of LEGO to achieve this result. The artificial limb can be incorporated with robotic grippers or laser-shooting spaceships when the child feels like it.
Torres’ homeland has been a victim of civil war and amputees are present in quite a large number and non-profits such as Integral Center for Rehabilitation of Colombia (CIREC) have been manufacturing prosthesis for children for over 30 years. Torres brings a bit of a playtime into the equation to help expedite the process of rehabilitation.
Torres carried out an exhaustive research while coming up with the final design for the IKO Prosthetic System. He even conducted interviews with orthopedic technicians, occupational therapists and clinical psychologists. With the knowledge gained from interviews along with the importance that a patient’s social circle holds for self-esteem development, Torres went to the Lego Future Lab in Denmark.
He says, “During my time working in Lego Future lab I realized that you can pretty much can build anything you want with Lego. 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.”
Torres finally came up with a functional prototype of a prosthetic that allows the kids to make use of their imagination while allowing the family to take part in it. The final design features a battery, charging port, a pair of myoelectric sensors that are responsible for tracking the movement of the stump and converting it into a signal for the motors. A muscle component receives the signal and makes use of the affixed motor and Lego connectors to carry various attachments on the end.
Torres flew to Bogota to test the design on an eight-year-old boy named Dario. Dario suffered from a congenital malformation and had his right arm amputated. Torres claims that the results exceeded what he was expecting and he is busy in converting the whole idea into a commercial product. He says if all goes well, the system will be available somewhere between December 2016 and mid of 2017.