UK-based startup Open Bionics, which relies on robotic sensors and 3D printing to make its lightweight prosthetic hands, has certainly come pretty far since launching its Kickstarter campaign in 2013 and fitting its first device, which won Best Product Innovation at CES 2015. Open Bionics, which began a partnership with the National Health Service in December to integrate its prosthetics into the healthcare system, uses sensor arrays and electronics in its prosthetic hands, to distinguish myoelectric signals from the wearer’s muscle movements; the sensors then send signals to the hand, instructing the fingers to move. The company’s open source prosthetic hand was a Hackaday Prize semifinalist in late 2015, and also won the UK leg of the James Dyson award. Open Bionics has now announced another major win: the $1 million UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good.
The “competition that makes a difference” has a goal of supporting innovation, and encouraging research and applications, in the areas of robotics and artificial intelligence, to help solve challenges in three categories: education, health, and social services. The award is part of the UAE’s commitment towards the National Innovation Strategy, launched a few years ago by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
Last year’s inaugural UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good had over 650 entries, from a total of 121 countries. The largest number of entries last year was in the Health category of the competition. This year, there were over 1,600 initial applicants, which eventually were narrowed down to 40 finalists, from over 60 countries.
“Humanity is on a journey,” said HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “From the discovery of fire to the industrial revolution, we are on a constant voyage of discovery. Robotics and artificial intelligence are the next step.”
Last week, the top 10 finalists, including among them DOME Project, Fathom One, and HyRIZON, competed at Dubai Internet City for the chance to win the $1 million prize. The finalist competition was free and open to the public, and the judges ultimately chose the 3D printed bionic hands from the Open Bionics team as the international winner.
The startup, based in Bristol, said the prize money will help as it works to serve all amputees in need. Open Bionics thanked all of its supporters on Twitter for their support, and “for helping us get here.”
According to an Open Bionics Facebook post, “Now we have the funding to push our hands through the final stages of medical testing and finally get them to everyone who needs one.”
The UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good focuses on innovative technologies in the aforementioned categories of education, health, and social services, and it recognizes the most cutting-edge national and international inventions in these three areas. According to the award website, 300,000 people are currently employed in industrial robotics, and the global market for robots is predicted to reach $1.5 billion by 2019.
Take a look at this short video about the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good:
Discuss in the Open Bionics forum at 3DPB.com.[Sources: Open Bionics, TCT, UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good]