Emerging Tech

We talked to Limbitless about giving gaming-themed prosthetic arms to kids

For children born with injured or missing limbs, completing everyday tasks can be a struggle, but the nonprofit organization Limbitless Solutions is making things easier with its line of bionic arms. Available to families free of charge, the 3D-printed arms are capable of gripping objects just like human arms and the company has partnered with popular media franchises in order to give the arms some extra flair.

In collaboration with 343 Industries, families can receive prosthetic arms based on the Spartan armor from the Halo video game series. Kids will be able to pick from the Master Chief’s Mk. VI armor variant, made famous in the campaign modes, as well as a multiplayer variant with several color options.

Speaking to Digital Trends during our Digital Trends Live show on Thursday, December 27, director of production Dominique Courbin said that thus far, Limbitless has donated around 20 arms to children across the United States, which would otherwise cost as much as $ 100,000.

“We started with a very simple prosthetic arm that could just open and close,” Courbin said. “But due to popular demand and our own interest in improving the prosthetic, we began to create prosthetics that could create individual finger movement. But that created a very difficult technical problem for us to solve.”

limbitless prosthetic arms halo league of legends 343limbitless

By using video games, children are able to train and learn how to use the prosthetic arms more effectively, and Limbitless also releases its own video games designed for the arms. After showing the game at Game Developers Conference 2018, the team was introduced to several game companies, including not just 343, but also League of Legends studio Riot Games. Five different prosthetic designs based on the game will be available to order in 2019.

Creating the prosthetic arms from video game characters was actually a fairly simple process, with Courbin saying that since the 3D-modeling process used for the arms is similar to creating 3D objects in video games, Limbitless was able to import 343’s models as the basic blueprint for the arms.

For children interested in Marvel Comics, Limbitless also created an Iron Man prosthetic arm. Actor Robert Downey Jr. was able to give the arm to a seven-year-old boy named Alex in 2015, which is about as cool as being given the whole Iron Man suit.

“We always wanted to help empower the kids and enable them to reflect how awesome and heroic they are internally — and wear them on their sleeve,” Courbin added.

Parents looking to receive a Limbitless prosthetic arm for their child can apply on the company’s official website. The company also accepts donations, which enables it to give all of its arms away for free.

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