The team at Click-A-Brick have heaped praise on a new prosthetic limb design that incorporates building block toy elements into it to facilitate children’s ability to play.
The limb, called the Iko and designed by Carlos Arturo Torres, is meant to be equal parts functional and fun for children with disabilities. Torres created the Iko for his Master’s degree in product design and it won a Core77 design award for him. The limb was created in partnership with Lego’s Future Lab and CIREC, a center in Columbia that focuses on rehabilitating children with various disabilities.
The Iko uses Lego Mindstorms, a line of robotics toys, and the limb is essentially built with the building blocks snapping together and locking in place. Once it’s built and functioning, the limb can then have different components built and attached to the end of it, like a backhoe or a toy spaceship, for example. Torres says he’d like to eventually see other companies like Marvel, GE and Nintendo create attachments that could be used for the limbs.
In his outline of the project, Torres says he wanted to create a balance of functionality and playfulness.
“Turning the prosthesis into a toy was something that had to be explored, a kid does not always play and one of the big insights during research pointed out that kids were also very interested in a functional tool,” Torres wrote in his project details. “There had to be a right balance between a playful experience and something functional, and, moreover, something that could allow kids to explore their creativity, something they could be proud of.”
Click-A-Brick Co-Founders Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza say they were blown away by the project when they read about it.
“I never thought I’d see the day that building blocks were used to build a prosthetic arm,” Smith said. “Of course, there is a lot more to it than that, but I really like that Carlos decided to use building blocks as a basis for the Iko. They’re something that pretty much every kid loves and it makes perfect sense to use them, especially with the interchangeable ends. In the videos about the Iko, you can see the boy that they built the prosthetic for is having a lot of fun with his friends and family putting it together and building the toys that go with it. There is a big movement going on now with the Toys Like Us campaign to be more inclusive of children with disabilities and the Iko fits right in with that and even takes it to the next level.”
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