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“Superhero Cyborg” Project allows Kids to Design their own Prosthetic Limbs

San Francisco based KIDmob, a mobile, kid-integrated design firm, partnered with the Helping Hands Foundation and Brown University School of Engineering to hold a week of workshops in July in Rhode Island to help kids with a diverse range of upper limb capabilities design prosthetics beyond simple replacements.

During the workshops, the kids’ imaginations were encouraged to run wild as they worked with a team of designers, engineers, prosthetists, and educators to design and create their own unique prosthetic limbs. No idea was off limits at the Design Your Own Prosthetic workshop, allowing the kids to 3D-print a variety of cyborgian body modifications. The innovative designs included sunglasses for those without ears, a back brace that held the wearer’s clothes in place, a prosthetic hand called “David’s Versatile Grippy Thingy” with interchangeable parts to facilitate activities like tennis, and a fashionable, zebra-print digitigrade stilt.

The hands-on workshop not only allowed the kids to create unique and exciting superhero cyborg body modifications, but it also taught them a range of new technologies with a focus on practicing four essential skills: communication, critical thinking, adaptability, and creative problem solving. KIDmob sought to reinforce the mentality that the kids were inspirational, not disparate. With their new inventions, the kids are encouraged to view their prosthetic limbs as a superpower instead of a disability.

KIDmob is a non-profit organization that takes their innovative approach around the world to empower kids and communities in a variety of ways through project-based learning. The organization designs hands-on programs around a specific group’s needs and brings the community together in a fun environment filled with new technology and creative solutions. Two other projects by KIDmob include the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts+Design, and Math) Fair, during which middle schoolers became secret agents to blitz design prototypes for local challenges, and The Youth Design Summit 2014, which took place in Haiti and allowed students from different communities to come together and design solutions to local educational challenges while fostering empathy and cross-cultural exchange.

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Jamie Lowe

Recent college graduate and aspiring literary agent.

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