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Inventor builds Lego arm for eight-year-old (guinnessworldrecords.com)
192 points by rchaudhary 8 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 42 comments

There's an Argentinian Startup (Atomic Lab[0]), founded by Gino Tubaro[1], that has been giving away fully 3D printed prothesis to childrens for several years now. It's a very cool project! sadly I can't find much information in English and their site is very minimal, but beleive what they do is awesome.

Here are some articles I found on them:



Limbs project FAQ: https://www.facebook.com/notes/1035463880210146/

[0] https://www.atomiclab.org/ [1] http://www.ginotubaro.com/ (In Spanish - no HTTPS) | https://emergeamericas.com/agenda/speakers/gino-tubaro (no official but in English)

It's really awesome that we are at a technological place in time where "pretty much anyone" can build prosthetic limbs out of commonplace items such as Lego.

But that it's actually done and used tells a lot (of negatives) about healthcare tech.

I'm inclined to agree; it seems like there are a LOT of people who make bionic limbs as 'side projects', but it seems they're not commercially available? You'd think someone would be mass producing them by now.

Of course, a lot of articles like these are by US people, where finding the money for a commercial prosthetic is much more difficult. Can you get anything from health insurance if you don't have a job (because you're missing a limb)?

If you don't have a job then you'd be covered by Medicaid, and Medicaid appears to provide coverage for prosthetics in most cases: https://www.kff.org/medicaid/state-indicator/prosthetic-and-...

No, we are in a place where pretty much anyone can earn Internet Points by posting about this sort of stuff on Instagram, or wherever.

The reality is that lots of people find prosthetics, both commercial, and DIY... deeply unsatisfying [1]. But people who don't use them think some of them look cool, so at least that's something.

[1] https://www.inputmag.com/culture/cyborg-chic-bionic-prosthet...

> But that it's actually done and used tells a lot (of negatives) about healthcare tech.

Do you mean that in the sense that healthcare tech has been slow to move in terms of making advanced bionics available to the public that needs them? My general impression would make me agree, although bionic prosthetics have gotten way better in recent years. Simultaneously, it all seems like tech that could have been available decades prior.

It seems incredibly wrong that access to prosthetics is bifurcated into 2 tiers:

1) Incredibly expensive, but if you have insurance that pays for it, amazing. 2) DIY hobby projects that are "good enough" to still have incredibly profound impacts on peoples' lives. They aren't particularly costly, but only available if you're lucky enough to know someone with those skills.

I know it's not a trivial problem, but it seems like we should be able to mass-produce the "good enough" version and make them widely available at an accessible cost.

If I’m in the same house or at least the same city, I can keep some pretty impressive tech working

Having a working prototype with a technician on hand means you’re only about 10% of the way to having a mass-producible product though

Cool project. When he talks about exploring 3D printing, I think there is someone ahead of him.

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a talk by Clifford Agius (https://twitter.com/CliffordAgius) who is 3d printing App-enabled bionic arms. Pretty incredible stuff - I think he'd got startup costs <£1000 and per-arm costs around £5-600. ALl using open hardware/software.

Sadly there is literally nothing online I can find about it other than this post: https://www.cliffordagius.co.uk/post/findingand3dprintingaha...

(He's also a commercial pilot, as you do)

I’ve been following him on twitter and I honestly don’t where he gets the time to fly, develop, conferences speaking, and family. I do a few international trips and my clock is out of service for a few days. I guess flight crew are wires different.

A lot of pilots I know are freelance programmers on the side. You’re often waylaid far from home with nothing to do. The work comes in spurts. There are regulatory limits to how much you can fly. There were a lot of furloughs last year and international travel is still depressed.

Do you spend a lot of time in Breck? I bet that really self-selects for pilot-programmers. Not dismissing your point, I think it's cool that you know "a lot of pilots".

Nope I’m in Dallas. I did try remote work in Breckenridge (CO) a few months ago for the first time, but it was kinda depressing seeing the beautiful scenery but being trapped to the desk. The summer resort stuff all shuts down at 4pm too :-/

From the article: "David provides free instructions on how to build the MK-V LEGO® prosthetic arm on his YouTube channel Hand Solo." Made my day!

I love Legos (ok, LEGO, whatever), but this seems like it deserves 3d printing. It's an ideal application of 3d printing, since many parts need to adapt sizewise, so injection molding doesn't make sense. Modularity is neat, but doesn't lend itself to practical designs that are strong and space efficient.

My hope is that prosthesis tech and robot tech converge. If we can make really good artificial limbs, cheaply, we can not only help people who are missing natural limbs, but we can, ya know, train them to fold laundry or assemble iPhones.

The field will take off in a big way when someone designs an arm that can play a large role in fabricating and assembling an arm like it.

It's a reminder of how liberating it can be to have modular tools.

Prosthetics are a bad fit for our current industry as they need to be customized for each wearer.

Lego is quite intuitive to understand, most wearer could adjust their prosthetics themselves, or make extensions.

I wish we had more "legos but for real projects". Is it LEGO technic? Aluminium profiles come close, but the ecosystem is jus way smaller, and not really compatible between brands. OpensourceEcology (https://www.opensourceecology.org/) has been making interesting progress in that direction, but I don't know what scale they embrace modularity at.

I’d argue that’s 3d printing’s niche.

Bricks are either expensive or require very long wait cycles to get the right parts from remote vendors (mostly China). They are also relatively big, which makes tight builds difficult, and they require a decent amount of expertise and building technique to make anything non trivial (that’s putting aside the mechanical knowledge that would be need whatever the material used).

For purely mechanical prosthetics it’s less of an issue, but adding electronics is also a PITA if size/weight matters in any way.

As an example, this youtube channel (https://youtube.com/c/BrickExperimentChannel) has some pretty advanced builds, and it often comes down to bricks as a frame/skeleton, and custom parts for the critical core.

In comparison 3d printing has a way higher upfront learning curve, but the people trying to build these contraption aren’t doing it for fun and would arguably be motivated to invest time and effort to make things better in the long run (they’d have to do it anyway even with bricks).

The high upfront learning curve for 3D printing is somewhat of a barrier to DIY.

However Shapeways/Thingiverse/etc will print from a large library of models and ship it.

I suspect the big issue is the custom fitting.

Assuming a standardised approach to custom fitting exists then standard models could be made available for purchase without insane amounts of effort.

The fact someone is making prosthetics out of lego strongly suggests that such a standardised approach exists.

Meccano might work too? Not much cheaper than Lego but they have their pros and cons. The pieces are flexible for one.

Legos are just freaking neat. I don't know how else to put it.

Lego is just freaking neat. It is singular.

I don't agree. Other things from the Lego company like Legoland and the Lego Movie are just okay and not my thing. But Legos, as many in America refer to Lego pieces, are neat.

Then again, I'm the type who doesn't refer to Linux distros as "GNU/Linux". ;)

What is the mental hurdle for referring towards multiple Lego pieces as Lego?

Legos sounds like the parent that says his child is playing on the Nintendos.

It is like saying you watch animes instead of anime. Plural is still anime.

When in doubt, just follow the source language for pluralization.

> Legos sounds like the parent that says his child is playing on the Nintendos.

"Nintendos" sounds weird to me because for me a "Nintendo" is a console, and I rarely use more than one of those at the same time.

When you say "Legos" on the other hand I interpret it as an abbreviation of something like Lego bricks.

> It is like saying you watch animes instead of anime. Plural is still anime.

"Animes" on the other hand sounds perfectly fine. We don't conjugate borrowed verbs in a different way either just because the source language has different rules for conjugation; the English borrowing of irregular plural forms is a special case which doesn't work with anime too well since an irregular plural form does not actually exist (as with most Japanese nouns). Not to mention the word is an abbreviation of "animation", another English word with a perfectly normal plural form.

[1]: https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Lego#English

Mental hurdle? There is no mental hurdle, I understand the wishes of the Lego corporation just fine. I say "legos" because that's what I've always said, it rolls off my tongue and feels comfortable to me, and I see no reason to change. Why should I defer to the wishes of the Lego corporation and let them dictate how I use language? Incidentally, I also call megabloks "legos" too.

(I also say "animes" and "pokemons", but if I'm being honest those two are mostly just to get a rise out of the sort of people who would complain about that. I suspect most parents who say "nintendos" are similarly smirking when they say it, since the "NoooOOooo Dad that's not right!" responses are just too amusing.)

If you want to get pedantic about it, "Lego" is a brand, used as an adjective; the toys made under that name are Lego bricks (stylized by Lego Group in official material as "LEGO bricks").

Sorry, but where I live everyone my entire life has referred to the Lego bricks as "Legos". Now let me ask you, why do you care?

None of your examples sounded wrong to me so… I guess I have a mental hurdle :)

It's a mass noun in some dialects and a count noun in others.

Also freaking expensive.

I hope LEGO subsidizes this guy's endeavor.

The patent on lego expired some years ago, in theory there's plenty of cheaper alternatives out there.

But if you've ever handled those, you know why lego is still the brand to go for. Their quality and precision is still unparalleled. And given they're established, have a lot of their own IPs and licenses for big hollywood productions, and have their production lines set up and tweaked over a seventy year period, it's unlikely that there will be a serious competitor anytime soon.

The quality part is not really true anymore. Sure, Lego is still the gold standard but the competition is catching up fast.

Arguable the Polish company COBI offers higher quality than Lego. The pieces stick together much stronger and they are known for using prints instead of stickers for details on the models.

The Chinese competition is getting quite close as well and newer models might have closed the gap already.

Of course what is keeping Lego alive is licenses. If you what to own a officially licensed Start Wars set, you have to buy Lego. Though the prices are getting ridiculous.

How can we get this guy some major funding to develop his ideas?

He has a shop: http://handsolo.com/

Maybe that can help him :)

He's also on Twitter: https://twitter.com/handsolooficial

"Hand Solo" has to be the cleverest name I've seen in a very, very long time.

3 levels of puns in there (that I can discover), indeed, very clever.

Ok, the guy with the prosthetic arm wasn't Han Solo, it was his pal Luke, but yeah, still, nice pun!

Thank you.

Saw this guy at this YouTube video. It's a wholesome story.

"Building a Prosthetic Arm With Lego" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFymKqUwodY

That is the coolest invention I have seen all year. Bravo!

Sure that'll fix it. How about some spider legs as well? And a plasma rifle turret

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