Bionic Boy: Meet the inventor of a 'USB connector' for the disabled - Think Big - The Innovation Blog

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14 November 2016 at 17:20

Bionic Boy: Meet the inventor of a ‘USB connector’ for the disabled

Bionic Boy: Meet the inventor of a ‘USB connector’ for the disabled

By Shivvy J , 14/11/2016 a las 17:20

Meet Oliver Armitage, who as a 17-year-old wasn’t quite planning nightclub outings, and instead was obsessed with finding ways to bring bionics into the mainstream. Not quite your usual teenage goal right?

In our day-to-day work uncovering those founders driving tech-for-good initiatives, we were determined to find someone making headway in the ‘disability tech’ space. So when I stumbled across startup Cambridge Bio-Augmentation Systems (CBAS), we were instantly riveted.

How many of you were aware that the number of amputees worldwide stands at over 10 million or that each year, more than one million people lose a limb in this tragic way globally? TV docus on the subject and seminal events such as the Paralympics bring physical disability to the forefront, but this isn’t a subject that makes the mainstream news. Sadly, disability isn’t considered ‘hot’ by the newscasters.

Co-founder Oliver Armitage, together with Emil Hewage, is working tirelessly to bring the wonders of future tech to the area of disability, with some very promising early progress.

Watch it in action here in this video

Their invention is a permanently integrated smart device that will act as the interface between the limb and any prosthesis, i.e the connector between a patient’s soft-tissue or neural systems and their bionic device.

“As bionics become increasingly advanced, we’re still seeing an old fashioned and not fit-for-purpose model when it comes to attaching sophisticated technologies to limbs,” explains Oliver. His creation is based on advanced bioengineering and the fascination with the field is longstanding.

The implanted device will provide an open standard connector to allow a plug-and- play prosthetic attachment. It is designed to reduce the pain and discomfort experienced by a patient wearing a prosthetic day in, day out, ultimately providing a higher quality of life. “It will also make the delivery of this care more affordable for healthcare providers and allow prosthetic manufacturers to form a new relationship with the consumer,” adds Oliver.

I pressed him on when we might expect this to be available for amputees, given the nature of the device means it is likely to be subject to an array of regulatory approval and trials. Oliver explains that the product is currently in prototype stage, adding that the team were realistic about the timescales involved. They hope to bring this to market within the next few years and were commencing pre-clinical trials at the time of writing.

I see CBAS’ work as potentially game-changing for those in need. Ultimately, CBAS wants to make full mobility an accessible reality and to standardise prosthetic connectors, bringing bionics into the mainstream. Hear hear!


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