A Lego Compatible Prosthetic Arm and the Importance of Understanding Your User

Boy Playing with Lego Robot Arm

This week, I read a fascinating article about a university student who designed a prosthetic robotic arm for kids that is fully compatible with Lego Mindstorms (the robotics line). The arm has a fully-functional robotic hand that detaches from the main motor and can be replaced with whatever amazing Lego creation the user can build.

The designer, Carlos Arturo Torres, explains: “There were many problems I was trying to understand; the bad perception that kids have around prosthetics, the deep focus that companies have on engineering and not the human part of a kid in disability, the social isolation of a kid because of his condition and how hard can be for them to build a strong self-esteem.”

I was really blown away when I read this article. Prosthetics for adults focus on functionality and are designed more or less to look like the limbs they are replacing. This arm, however, is designed to focus on the social and emotional needs of children. As an outsider, I never would have thought of something like this. But by doing the right research, Mr. Torres created an invention that truly understands the needs of its user.

Boy Interacting with Prosthetic Arm