Bionic arm startup secures £4.6m funding

Bristol-based prosthetics startup Open Bionics has secured £4.6 million funding to boost production of its 3D-printed arms for young people in the UK and overseas markets.

The company has developed a Hero Arm prostheses specifically for children and young people, which uses 3D printing to create a low-cost and lightweight arms controlled via sensors that detect and respond to movement in the upper arm muscles. The device, which is designed to adapt with the user as they grow, can be used by children as young as nine years-old.

Announcing the funding, the company said it was planning to scale up its manufacturing capabilities and tap into overseas markets including the United States.

Samantha Payne, co-founder and chief operating officer of Open Bionics, said: “We’re thrilled to finally be able to deliver bionic hands to amputees and people with limb differences in the USA.”

The funding round was led by William’s F1 team backer Foresight Williams, Downing LLP and Ananda Impact Ventures, which each contributed £1.5 million, with additional funding from Rathbone Nominees.

Development of the Hero Arm was supported by a contract with NHS England that used SBRI Healthcare – part of the Innovate UK Small Business Research Initiative.

Open Bionics was awarded £697,464 to support clinical trials of its bionic limbs for child amputees. This helped to get the product medically-certified. It is now available through the NHS and other national healthcare systems, including in France and Germany, as well as private sales.

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