For people with missing limbs, here’s a prosthetic interface that allows them to customize it…with Lego.

Hoping to build the confidence of children living with a missing limb, Carlos Arturo Torres Tovar, of Umeå University in Sweden, has designed a prosthetic arm that’s compatible with Lego so kids can swap its gripping attachment for their own custom creations.

The arm functions very similar to traditional prosthetics, but it features a twist-and-lock modular design that’s easy for kids to assemble. And with a special motorized adapter, its standard three finger gripper can be swapped out for one made entirely of Lego. By essentially turning the prosthetic into one of their toys, Carlos hopes his IKO arm will empower children by improving their every day lives, but also their confidence while interacting with other children who might feel uncomfortable.

That’s absolutely brilliant.


  1. #1 Crolibulin
    July 29, 2015

    Why not? I do think it’s a great idea for people who have long been suffering from the pain of losing their limbs, especially for the children. And with the development, more and more intelligent replacement like the cyborg mentioned in the post. BOC Sciences

  2. #2 G
    July 29, 2015

    (I can’t get the video on my browser, but…)

    Brilliant also, for utilizing the natural motivations of kids to play with their toys. A plain mechanical prosthetic might be seen by a kid as a “necessity” whose functions “have to” be learned “like the multiplication tables” (not-fun unless you’re inspired by math, or in this case by mechanisms). But a Lego interface is a toy, is fun, invites play, and as we well know, play = learning.

    Presumably as the kids who use these devices grow older, their replacement prosthetics will need to keep up with their changing interests. For example if a teenager is interested in playing music, invent an interface to their preferred musical instruments (plural). And if an adult is interested in lab science, interfaces that enable manipulating lab equipment.

    All of this flies in the face of cultural puritanism that values drudgery as virtuous and condemns play as a vice. Good. Puritanism is a social disease, and reality has a liberal bias. The more play, the better for everyone, disabled or not, kid or grownup.

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