To say that Disney adores technology would be an understatement. In addition to regularly incorporating every new gadget, technique, process, and possibility provided through technology into their creations, they also sponsor the Disney Accelerator as a way to provide immersive mentorship for technology enabled startups. This year, the second Disney Accelerator program selected ten startups to come to Los Angeles and spend three months building both their ideas and their production capabilities for products in the consumer media and entertainment arena.
Among the companies selected for this is Open Bionics, a group working on the creation of 3D printed bionic hands and Makielabs, a company well known for its creation of custom 3D printed dolls. These two powerful 3D printing startups have already been making a big splash and the mentoring program combined with up to a $120k investment in their ideas should help push them even further. Interesting to note is that both of the 3D printing companies that were selected have a strong social sustainability component to their platforms.
Open Bionics was formed by Joel Gibbered and Samantha Payne in response to the high cost and low functionality of existing prosthetic options for amputees or those missing limbs. With an estimated 11.4 million hand amputees world wide, their primary focus has been on the creation of hands that could greatly benefit those who either go without, or have only rudimentary devices such as hooks. The Bristol based operation has created a miniature hand and is “working really hard on a revolutionary new robotic prosthetic hand. It will be fully custom fitted and 3D printed to order.”
Alice Taylor and Matthew Wiggins are at the forefront of Makielab, an outfit that “lets kids bring toys to life by building their own customizable 3D printed toys through creative games and apps.” You may remember them from stories we’ve written about them this year, including their efforts to incorporate disabilities and other physical differentiations to create a truly unique, personalized, 3D printed doll as part of the #ToyLikeMe campaign.
The startups will work in the Disney Accelerator program until October 6th when there will be a Demo Day where they will present their company and the products to entertainment leaders and investors. The creations and ideas promise to be exciting as the startups have the opportunity to work with key Disney executives and leaders, venture capitalists, and a number of members of the entrepreneurial community. In addition, the companies selected will be allocated a dedicated working space, given support through Techstars’ global network of mentors, up to $120,000, and access to resources, relationships, and characters from Disney companies.
Both Open Bionics and Makielab have already proven that they have strong ideas, an understanding of marketing, and broad capabilities. Now we’ll see what a little Disney magic lets them do next.