Designer creates ultra-lightweight prosthetic arm for young children in China

A designer in China developed a lightweight robotic arm for children with limb differences. 

Peng Wu is a 28-year-old product designer who’s worked on over 50 product launches — so it’s safe to say he’s always got his eyes peeled for ideas that positively impact consumers.

“I like to focus on the social value of design, always thinking about how product design can contribute to society,” Peng told In The Know. “I want to promote products designed by the Chinese community [too].”

One thing Peng noticed was how a lot of the widely available prosthetic limbs for children in China were expensive and uncomfortable to wear.

“Children’s arm muscles develop quickly, few products are available to meet their needs,” he explained.

After hearing from a friend that the Hands-On Project had a social welfare program, Peng was sold on the idea. The project offers free prostheses to children with physical disabilities by making affordable and high-quality 3D printed mechanical prosthetics with open-sourcing technologies.

“There are millions of people with limb loss around the world, and we are rather familiar with prosthetic designs for adults, not children. Kids are the ones who need help,” Peng said. “The product hopes to help disabled children regain their confidence, put a smile on their faces and bring joy to their lives.”

The prosthetic arm has adjustable sizing so that it grows as the child develops. It is supposed to be so thin and comfortable it feels like a layer of skin. 

The website features footage showing a young boy wearing the arm comfortably pick up a metal water bottle from his work desk. 

“Functionally, its operation is simple and does not require a lot of training for children,” Design company Innozen told iF World Design Index. “The learning cost is low and the design can be customized to meet the needs of different children’s arm sizes. This comfortable design helps children live a [full] life, enhances their self-confidence and makes them smile, giving them a happy childhood.” 

The prosthetic arm is a winner of a 2021 iF Design Award and a Reddot 2021 design winner. 

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If you enjoyed reading this article, check out this 25-year-old influencer using positivity and comedy to teach people about limb difference.

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