prosthetic arm with LEGO compatibility sparks creativity for kids with disabilities
all images courtesy of carlos arturo torres tovar





‘iko’ is a creative prosthetic system designed for children to explore and empower their creativity in a playful, social and friendly way. partnering with cirec, a foundation for physical rehabilitation, and LEGO future lab, carlos arturo torres tovar developed a hackable product with different modules: socket, battery, docking station with muscle and hand functions. carlos-arturo-torres-tovar-iko-lego-prosthetic-arm-designboom-02
backhoe with the LEGO socket 





the prototype was created for a boy named dario, who has able to control a backhoe, grippers, and a LED on a spaceship, all of which that were attached to his arm using myoelectric sensors. an umea institute of design student, carlos started by observing and interviewing children in colombia with congenital hand disabilities and their families, to confirm that the needs of disabled kids are not always related to physical activity but often alternatively the social and psychological aspect. 

diro playing with the arm





‘the idea of working on this subject started more than a year ago during my time at lego future lab,’ says carlos. ‘i was amazed on how much they actually care for kids and to see how many functional things people could build, i thought that somehow there was a missing link between between that creative collaborative power and kids. people could augment their creativity using lego bricks but they were still a toy for kids.’ 

he is able to control the arm through controls



video courtesy of carlos arturo torres tovar



the project is meant to ignite creativity for kids with disabilities


the arm is programmable for various purposes


the custom molded for attaching the modules




the LEGO compatible module


the charging station with the battery module


beginning sketches of the project


the ‘prosthetic arm with LEGO compatibility’ is a INDEX: design award 2015 finalist.


INDEX: design to improve life was created by denmark in 2002, with values and principles focusing on humanism, social understanding and democratic thinking. the nonprofit organization promotes the application of design and processes that improve vital areas of people’s lives worldwide by inspiring, educating and engaging.